November 20, 2023 4:00 PM
Possibly setting up a Supreme Court battle, a federal appeals court strikes down key tool used to enforce Voting Rights Act
A federal appeals court on
Monday ruled against a key tool used to enforce the Voting Rights Act –
possibly setting up another Supreme Court showdown over one of the nation’s
landmark civil rights laws.
In a ruling that springs
from an Arkansas redistricting case, the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled
that private entities cannot bring lawsuits under a provision of the law, known
as Section 2.
In a 2-1 decision, the
judges said the “text and structure” of the voting rights statute shows that
Congress did not give private plaintiffs the authority to sue. The appellate
panel affirmed a 2022 ruling by a Trump-appointed federal judge in Arkansas that
held only the US Justice Department can bring Section 2 lawsuits.