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Larry v. Arkansas

The publisher of an Arkansas a community newspaper is challenging the constitutionality of Arkansas’ First Congressional District, claiming that the district reflects a racially discriminatory intent and violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

Published: December 10, 2018

Note: The Brennan Center is not a participant in this case.

Case Background

An Arkansas community newspaper publisher filed suit claiming that the state’s First Congressional District violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, as well as the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The plaintiff claims that the legislature intentionally drew the lines of the First Congressional District to dilute African-American voters’ opportunity to elect their candidates of choice and to discriminate against those voters because of their race.

The plaintiff is asking the court to enjoin the state from using the current congressional plan in any elections and to require the state to adopt a new plan. The plaintiff is also asking the court to suspend the congressional primaries until a new map is approved.

On April 23, the court granted the state’s motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendment claims for lack of standing. The court convened a three-judge panel to adjudicate the plaintiff’s Section 2 claim.

On August 3, the panel dismissed the plaintiff’s Section 2 claim for lack of standing. 

On August 20, the plaintiffs appealed the panel’s decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. On December 10, 2018, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction. 


District Court

U.S. Supreme Court