JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Mississippi, Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Greenville to challenge the state Supreme Court district lines.
The complaint was filed on Monday, April 25, 2022. The plaintiffs claim the state Supreme Court district lines dilute the voting strength of Black residents in state Supreme Court elections, which violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the U.S. Constitution.
The plaintiffs want the district lines redrawn, so Black voters can have an equal opportunity to choose candidates. They said only four African Americans have sat on the state Supreme Court and never more than one at a time. The Mississippi Supreme Court is composed of three districts, which elect three justices to eight year terms.
“Thirty-five years ago, Black lawmakers objected to the current districts. The lack of proper representation today is evidence that they were right in their objection. It’s past time to correct these unlawful maps,” said Jarvis Dortch, Executive Director of ACLU of Mississippi.
Civic leaders said the lawsuit has been filed before in the late 1980s. They believe this time, the case will be successful.