Voting Rights Groups File Lawsuit Accusing Mississippi Supreme Court of Diluting Black Voter Rights
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Voting Rights Groups File Lawsuit Accusing Mississippi Supreme Court of Diluting Black Voter Rights

Redistricting
Some Republican lawmakes are claiming that recently redrawn political maps are “race-blind” in an effort to create parity among all voters in a given district. But several recently filed lawsuits suggest the opposite is the case. (Image: Twitter/@NAACPLDF)

Mississippi’s majority white Supreme Court is being called out in a lawsuit over the state’s voting maps that seemingly work to dilute the voices of Black voters.

The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Mississippi, Southern Poverty Law Center, and the New York-based law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett came together to file a lawsuit on behalf of four Black Mississippi residents who believe the state’s district lines violate the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution in ways that suppress Black voter rights, NBC News reports.

The lawsuit brings attention to Mississippi’s majority white Supreme Court consisting of nine justices. Eight of the nine current justices are white, and one is Black. But the state’s Black residents make up 38% of the market.

The suit accuses Mississippi of violating Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which makes it illegal for states to dilute voter strength among voters of color, the Clarion-Ledger reports. It also says the district lines violate the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits states from maintaining or reaffirming voting systems that seemingly work to discriminate against a certain group.

Plaintiffs are requesting a federal judge to order an update of the Supreme Court districts in the northern, central, and southern parts of the state.

“Time for these districts to change has come,” Ari Savitzky, an attorney for the ACLU Foundation said.

Drawing new boundaries for the district is something that hasn’t happened since 1987.

“To me, this is about Mississippi’s future,” said Dyamone White, an Edwards resident, and plaintiff in the case. “I just want to be part of the change.”

In the state’s history, only four Black justices have served on the Supreme Court, with no more than one Black justice serving on the court at a time. The State Board of Election Commissioners and its members Gov. Tate Reeves, Secretary of State Michael Watson, and Attorney General Lynn Fitch are listed as defendants in the lawsuit.


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