A nation thunders into the first primary of 2022 election season. Democrats from across the country have been going to court to attempt to convince stumpbroke judges that they can give them the judicial fiat to achieve what they couldn’t by winning elections. Arkansas was the site of one such case. It involved the apportionment of Arkansas House of Representatives (76R 24D, 2I) and Senate (7D 7D, 1I). Although the case was not at the state level, I believe it provides a glimpse into the future direction of the Supreme Court in stopping judicial meddling with redistricting or elections.
The proposal submitted by the Arkansas state redistricting Board for Arkansas’ legislature included 11 majority-Black House seats, and 4 majority-Black Senate positions. Arkansas Public Policy Panel and NAACP sued. They claimed that the map dilutes black voter impact. The correct number of majority Black seats in Arkansas was 16, and nine for the Senate.
The story really gets interesting here. Federal courts allowed private entities to sue for violations of Section 2 of The Voting Rights Act in the past. Trump appointed District Judge Lee Rudofsky. A Harvard Law School graduate, Federalist Society member and ex-Solicitor General of Arkansas, Rudofsky ruled there was no provision that allowed private groups to challenge the voting districts. He ruled that the Department of Justice was required to participate in all Voting Rights act lawsuits. The judge gave five days for the Department of Justice to participate in the case. Judge Rudofsky dismissed his case after DOJ refused to join the proceedings.
Arkansas Voting Rights by Scribd
The ACLU has appealed to the US Supreme Court, but I think the odds of that action being successful are minimal for reasons I’ll hit in a second.
In a recent case, Alabama’s redistricting plan was challenged under the pretense of it diluting the Black vote. This was one of the late-filed lawsuits with the apparent intent to impose an alternate plan on Alabama. The state would then have to accept the alternative plan or risk chaos in administering an election in which incumbents could suddenly be living in an area with another incumbent.
Appeal by the state to the Supreme Court. See Alabama Appeals the Rejection Of Its Redistricting Plan and the Left May Receive More Than It Expected. (Yes, the image is North Carolina. The Supreme Court decided that redistricting was not a matter for the courts, rather than attempting to deal with the complexities of racial manipulation. Although the Alabama case will be heard by the Supreme Court next term, it is noteworthy that Alabama didn’t challenge the ruling based upon the absence of time. Instead, Alabama challenged the legality to draw voting districts using a system of racial spoils.
If you read Judge Rudofsky’s opinion, you’ll see that one of the issues facing him was that a map had to be established by March 1 for the state to adequately prepare for primary elections. I suspect that the Supreme Court will refuse to intervene for the same reason, see Why We Shouldn’t Fear Chief Justice John Roberts as More Clouds Loom Over the Future of Racial Gerrymanders and the Voting Rights Act).
This case could resurface as the Supreme Court seems to be preparing to clarify how the Voting rights Act should be applied. In the past few years, the Supreme Court has transformed the Voting Rights Act from an un-Constitutional means of mass punishment and imposing collective guilt to something that is merely offensive to the Constitutional right of states to set “time, place, and manner” of elections and a tool for the left to interject chaos and ad hoc rules in defiance of state law. Five justices are likely to drag Chief Justice John Roberts out of line in an effort to make it illegal for race to be used when deciding the boundaries of voting districts.