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Thomas v. Reeves

Three African American voters in Mississippi filed a lawsuit alleging that State Senate District 22 violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

Last Updated: June 23, 2020
Published: September 23, 2019

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

Case Background

Three African American voters from Mississippi State Senate District 22 filed a federal lawsuit challenging the district under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Plaintiffs alleged that the district dilutes the votes of African Americans and prevents them from electing their candidate of choice. The plaintiffs also claimed that District 22 could be redrawn to increase the black voting age population from 50.8% to 60%, which would permit them to elect a preferred candidate. 

On February 13, 2019, the court concluded District 22 violated Section 2. The legislature then redrew the district. On August 1, 2019, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s ruling and approved the use of the legislature’s redrawn district for future elections.

The defendants requested a rehearing en banc, and on September 23, the Court of Appeals granted the rehearing. Oral argument took place on January 22, 2020. On June 19, 2020, the en banc Court of Appeals unanimously declared the issue moot, vacated the lower court’s opinion, dismissed the appeal, and instructed the lower court to dismiss the case.


District Court

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals (appeal of February 16 order)

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals (emergency motion for stay of judgment)