Lawsuit filed on behalf of the Christian Ministerial Alliance, Arkansas Community Institute and Black voters against the state of Arkansas, Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R), Secretary of State John Thurston (R), Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (R), the Arkansas Board of Apportionment and the Arkansas Board of Election Commissioners. The plaintiffs challenge the method of electing judges to the Arkansas Court of Appeals and Arkansas Supreme Court. The plaintiffs argue that the at-large system used to elect state Supreme Court justices and the combined single-member and multi-member districts used to elect judges to the Arkansas Court of Appeals violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) by diluting the voting strength of Black voters in Arkansas. The plaintiffs request that the court declare these electoral methods in violation of the VRA and set deadlines for Arkansas to adopt new election methods for the Arkansas Supreme Court and Arkansas Court of Appeals that comply with the VRA.
In February 2021, the court dismissed the claims against the state of Arkansas, the Board of Election Commissioners and the Board of Apportionment, holding that the claims against these entities are barred by sovereign immunity. The plaintiffs’ claims against the remaining defendants moved forward at trial, which was held on April 25, 2022. On July 25, 2023, the case was dismissed.