AP

Lawsuit challenges Arkansas congressional redistricting plan

Mar 7, 2022, 4:18 PM | Updated: 7:58 pm

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A federal lawsuit was filed Monday challenging Arkansas’ new U.S. House district lines, claiming the new boundaries violate Black voters’ rights and weaken their influence by splitting the Little Rock area among three congressional districts.

The lawsuit filed by six residents, including two Black Democratic state lawmakers, said the redistricting plan approved by the majority-Republican Legislature last year violates the Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act by moving 23,000 predominantly Black voters out of the 2nd District in central Arkansas. Those voters were split between the state’s 1st and 4th congressional districts.

Heavily Democratic Pulaski County, which includes the Little Rock area, is currently in the 2nd District.

The plan “has placed illegal and unconstitutional barriers to the legitimate and natural growth of the state’s Black population to translate to increased political influence at the federal level,” the lawsuit said.

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson in October allowed the redistricting plan to become law without his signature, saying the removal of Pulaski County voters into other districts raised concerns. Hutchinson, however, said he decided against vetoing the map in deference to lawmakers and the political process.

Amanda Priest, a spokesman for Republican Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, said Rutledge “will review this frivolous attempt at a lawsuit and respond accordingly.”

Hutchinson said in a statement that he had not reviewed the lawsuit and declined to comment. A spokesman for Republican Secretary of State John Thurston, also named as a defendant in the lawsuit, declined to comment.

The lawsuit was filed days after the one-week filing period for state and federal office in Arkansas. Republicans hold all four of the state’s U.S. House seats, both U.S. Senate seats, a majority of both chambers of the Legislature and all statewide partisan offices.

Democrats have tried unsuccessfully in recent years to flip the 2nd District, which Republicans have held since 2011.

Supporters of the redistricting map have said splitting the county makes sense since Pulaski County is in the middle of the state and helped limit the number of counties divided.

The lawsuit is the second challenging a redistricting plan in Arkansas. A federal judge last month dismissed a suit challenging Arkansas’ new state House districts after the Justice Department declined to intervene in the case. The judge had ruled that private groups couldn’t claim violations of the Voting Rights Act.

That decision has been appealed.

The residents challenging Arkansas’ new congressional lines asked for a three-judge panel to hear the case. The lawsuit asked the court to order the Legislature to redraw its map, or for the court to select its own redistricting measure.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A Boeing 737 Max suffered damage to parts of the plane's structure after it went into a “Dutch ro...

Associated Press

Plane that did ‘Dutch roll’ on flight from Phoenix suffered structural damage, investigators say

A Boeing 737 Max suffered damage to parts of the plane's structure after it went into a “Dutch roll” during a flight from Phoenix last month.

2 days ago

This photo provided by Randy Shannon shows Mooney Falls on the Havasupai reservation outside the vi...

Associated Press

Dozens report illness after trips to waterfalls near Grand Canyon

Dozens of hikers say they fell ill during trips to a popular Arizona tourist destination that features towering blue-green waterfalls deep in a gorge neighboring Grand Canyon National Park.

3 days ago

Mugshot of Rudy Giuliani, who was processed Monday, June 10, 2024, in the Arizona fake electors cas...

Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani posts $10K cash bond after being processed in Arizona fake electors case

Rudy Giuliani, a former New York City mayor and Donald Trump attorney, was processed Monday in the Arizona fake electors case.

5 days ago

FILE - White House former chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters at the White House, Wed...

Associated Press

Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows pleads not guilty in Arizona fake elector case

Former Donald Trump presidential chief of staff Mark Meadows and Trump 2020 Election Day operations director Michael Roman pleaded not guilty Friday in Phoenix to nine felony charges for their roles in an effort to overturn Trump's Arizona election loss to Joe Biden.

9 days ago

deadly heat wave last summer...

Associated Press

After a deadly heat wave last summer, metro Phoenix is changing tactics

Fresh memories of the deadly heat wave last summer have led Arizona authorities to launch new tactics ahead of summer 2024.

19 days ago

A Yuma man has been arrested for allegedly starting a wildfire in a national wildlife preserve near...

Associated Press

Man accused of starting wildfire in national wildlife preserve in Yuma

A Yuma man has been arrested for allegedly starting a wildfire in a national wildlife preserve near the California border.

20 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

Lawsuit challenges Arkansas congressional redistricting plan