Judge Will Dismiss Arkansas Redistricting Case Unless DOJ Joins Us | New Policies
By ANDREW DeMILLO, Associated Press
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A federal judge said Thursday he was dismissing a lawsuit challenging Arkansas’ new State House districts as diluting the influence of black voters unless the Justice Department joins the fight. case as plaintiff.
U.S. District Judge Lee Rudofsky said there was “a strong argument that at least some of the disputed districts” in the lawsuit brought by two groups violate federal suffrage law. But, in a 42-page decision, Rudofsky said he can’t say. on the merits of the case and gave the Justice Department five days to join as a plaintiff before it dismissed it.
“After a thorough analysis of the text and structure of the Voting Rights Act, and a careful tracing through the relevant case law, the Court has concluded that this case can only be brought by the Attorney General of the United States “, Rudofsky, who was named to the bench by former President Donald Trump, wrote.
The decision comes days before candidates can begin filing for state and legislative offices in Arkansas. The one-week deposit period begins on Tuesday.
The Arkansas Public Policy Panel and the Arkansas State Conference NAACP had filed a lawsuit challenging the new lines for all 100 districts in the state and sought a preliminary injunction blocking them.
The new boundaries were approved in December by the Republican-controlled State Allocation Council. The panel is made up of Governor Asa Hutchinson, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and Secretary of State John Thurston. Republicans hold a majority in both houses of the Legislative Assembly.
“I am extremely pleased with the district court’s decision effectively denying plaintiffs’ frivolous request to order new House district maps for the 2022 election,” Rutledge said in a statement. “Arkansans can now move forward with choosing their elected representatives.”
The panel’s redistricting plan created 11 majority-black districts, which groups challenging the map said were too few.
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