Federal Court Slaps Down Claim That Arkansas Congressional Maps Were Racially Gerrymandered

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A federal court dismissed a lawsuit Thursday alleging that Arkansas’ 2021 U.S. House map diluted the influence of black voters by moving thousands out of the Second District and into the First and Fourth Districts.

The lawsuit, filed by two black Democratic lawmakers and four residents, was partially dismissed by the three-judge panel in October. The panel allowed the plaintiffs to file an amended complaint expanding on their allegations that the maps violate the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act, which it rejected on Thursday.

“Having reviewed the amendments, we grant the motion to dismiss,” the Eastern District of Arkansas panel wrote. “The allegations do not create a plausible inference that race was the ‘predominant factor’ behind the adoption of Arkansas’s new congressional map.”

The panel included Eighth Circuit Judge David Stras, a Trump appointee; Chief Eastern District of Arkansas Judge D. P. Marshall Jr., an Obama appointee; and Eastern District of Arkansas Judge James M. Moody Jr., an Obama appointee. (RELATED: Supreme Court To Hear South Carolina Republicans’ Challenge To Racial Gerrymandering Decision)

Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin said the decision “confirms what we already knew: Our congressional districts do not violate the United States Constitution and are legal.”

“This is the second time in less than a month that a court has dismissed a challenge to Arkansas’s congressional districts,” Griffin said. “Just two weeks ago, the Pulaski County Circuit Court dismissed a companion state court challenge to Arkansas’s congressional districts.”

Another lawsuit was also filed in federal court on Tuesday by three voters and the Christian Ministerial Alliance, similarly alleging the 2021 map “is a textbook case of ‘cracking’ a minority community to suppress its political voice.”

Griffin said the Thursday ruling means this new case “is likewise doomed to fail.”

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