Monday, September 17, 2012

Crumbly loses lawsuit over Senate redistricting

Posted By on Mon, Sep 17, 2012 at 10:54 AM

LOSES LAWSUIT: Jack Crumbly.
  • LOSES LAWSUIT: Jack Crumbly.
State Sen. Jack Crumbly, who sued arguing discrimination against black voters in redrawing of state Senate disticts after the Census, has lost his lawsuit.

A three-judge panel (all Republican appointees) said in dismissing the suit filed by Crumbly and residents of East Arkansas:

We have thoroughly reviewed the record evidence, including numerous exhibits and expert testimony.

We have carefully considered the proof with due regard to the intensely practical nature of the political process. We now hold that the plaintiffs failed to meet their burden of proving the Gingles preconditions or intentional discrimination and therefore did not demonstrate a violation of their rights under federal law.

Republican Secretary of State Mark Martin had split from the two other members of the state Board of Apportionment — Gov. Mike Beebe and Attorney General Dustin McDaniel — in objecting to the districting. The redistricting left a bare black majority in the district, not enough Crumbly argued for election of a black senator like himself. Crumbly lost a Democratic primary for the new Senate seat to a white candidate, Keith Ingram of West Memphis.

The court did note there is a history of racial discrimination in the electoral process in Arkansas, as other cases have held.

With that history in mind, we stress that our determination that no illegal vote dilution or intentional discrimination occurred does not mean that the plaintiffs did not raise important concerns about the Arkansas redistricting process. Because the Board acted within the bounds of the law, those concerns are for the voters of Arkansas, not for the courts of the United States, to address.

Here's the full opinion. The opinion was written by 8th Circuit Judge Lavenski Smith, who happens to be black. Also participating were District Judges Susan Wright and Leon Holmes.

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