Judge Tosses Out Lawsuit Challenging State's Redistricting

NOVEMBER 21, 2006 - Posted at 7:37 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A federal judge has rejected what he called "insubstantial" claims made in a lawsuit that accused the state of redrawing legislative districts in a way that violated the rights of black voters in Phillips County.  U.S. District Judge James M. Moody dismissed a suit filed by attorney Jimmie Wilson on behalf of a group of black residents who said the 2001 redistricting plan diluted their voting rights.

Wilson's lawsuit claimed the plan dilutes votes because black voters were selling their votes, black candidates were not willing to run for office, the black candidate elected in Senate District 5 lives too far from Phillips County, and the county is divided among three House seats and three Senate seats.  Moody said Wilson should target people selling the votes, not the state.

Moody ruled that the Voting Rights Act would not permit the redrawing of the districts to guarantee the elections of African-American candidates.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)