On March 7, 2022, a group of Arkansas voters and a sitting Arkansas State Representative filed a federal lawsuit against Arkansas, Arkansas's Governor, and Arkansas's Secretary of State challenging the state's enacted congressional plan as violating various federal and state constitutional and statutory provisions. First, plaintiffs allege the plan's population deviations violate Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution because they are due to the General Assembly's "cracking" of the 2nd Congressional District in order to dilute Black voting strength. Second, they assert the plan intentionally discriminates against Black and Democratic voters by diluting their voting strength based on their political affiliations in violation of the 1st Amendment's Freedom of Speech protections. Third, plaintiffs allege by "cracking" Black voters to dilute their voting strength, the plan violates the 14th Amendment's Privileges and Immunities and Equal Protection Clauses, the 15th Amendment, and the Arkansas Constitution's Equal Protection provision (Art. II, Section 3). Finally, they assert the plan results 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 enacted congressional plan is unconstitutional and unlawful, an injunction barring the defendants from implementing or using the plan in future elections and barring the state from holding congressional elections until a lawful plan is enacted, and for the court to adopt a plan of its own in the event the state fails to do so.

On October 24, the district court issued an order and opinion dismissing the plaintiffs' racial gerrymandering claims under Article I, Section 2, the 1st Amendment, and the Privileges and Immunities Clause for failing to state a claim. Although the court identified pleading issues with the remaining claims, it deferred its ruling on those for thirty days to allow the plaintiffs time to correct those deficiencies.

On May 25, 2023, the district court dismissed plaintiffs' claims against the State of Arkansas without prejudice and all other claims with prejudice.

Plaintiffs filed their notice of appeal on June 12, 2023, and their Jurisdictional Statement at the Supreme Court on August 11.


U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Central Division - No. 4:22-cv-213

Supreme Court of the United States - 23-138