Posted on June 6, 2024

Supreme Court Reinstates Racial Gerrymander Lawsuit in Arkansas

Matthew Vadum, Epoch Times, June 3, 2024

The U.S. Supreme Court on June 3 revived a lawsuit that contests the boundaries of a congressional district in Arkansas that challengers say illegally diluted the voting strength of the black community.

The ruling comes days after the court rejected a claim that a congressional district in South Carolina was an unconstitutional racial gerrymander.


The decision sends the case back to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, which previously dismissed the lawsuit on May 25, 2023.

A three-judge panel of the district court rejected the challengers’ argument that the electoral map violated Section 2 of the federal Voting Rights Act. Section 2 prohibits voting practices or procedures that discriminate on the basis of race, color, or membership in a large language minority group. Last year, Alabama asked the Supreme Court to weaken Section 2. The court declined to do so {snip}

The ruling comes after the Supreme Court upheld on a vote of 6–3 a congressional redistricting plan in South Carolina. In the May 23 decision, the court rejected the claim that the new electoral map was a product of race-based discrimination.


In Simpson v. Thurston, the challengers argued that when the Arkansas General Assembly drafted a new electoral map for the state in 2021, it took “the exceptional measure of splitting a community of 140,000 Blacks from a close-knit community in the southern border of the Second Congressional District in Pulaski County, Arkansas, into, not two, but three congressional districts, while  simultaneously transferring the virtually all-White Cleburne County into the northern part of the Second Congressional District.”


The challengers are asking the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas to block the map, compel the state to develop a constitutionally compliant plan, and put the state under a preclearance regime as provided in Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act. Preclearance under Section 3 means the U.S. Department of Justice and the federal courts assign election-day monitors to polling places to ensure compliance with the law.