CASE SUMMARY

On December 29, 2021, the Arkansas State Conference of the NAACP and another Arkansas non-profit filed a federal lawsuit against the State of Arkansas, the Arkansas Board of Apportionment, and the state's Governor, Secretary of State, and Attorney General, challenging the Board's adopted state House redistricting plan as violating the federal Voting Rights Act. Specifically, plaintiffs allege that the adopted plan cracks and packs Black voters in several different regions throughout the state resulting in the dilution of Black voting strength in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. They are seeking a judicial declaration that the Board's state House plan violates Section 2 of the VRA and an injunction barring the state from holding future elections using the Board's adopted plan or any other plan that fails to comply with Section 2.

On February 17, 2022 the district court issued an order stating that after reviewing the Voting Rights Act and relevant caselaw, the court concluded that no private cause of action to enforce Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act existed and therefore the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the lawsuit. Rather than dismiss the lawsuit, however, the court explained it would hold the judgment of dismissal for five calendar days to allow the U.S. Attorney General time to decide whether to join the case as a plaintiff and allow the litigation to proceed. On February 22, the United States filed a notice informing the court it would not be joining the case, and the court dismissed the action the same day. The plaintiffs appealed this decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit the following day.

CASE LIBRARY

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Central Division - No. 4:21-cv-1239

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit - No. 22-1395