/Civil rights attorney signals lawsuit over new legislative districts

Civil rights attorney signals lawsuit over new legislative districts

Rhodes has been involved for decades with efforts to ensure Black voters have the opportunity to elect candidates of their choosing. The NAACP and Southern Poverty Law Center, American Civil Liberties Union, and others, are still considering whether to challenge the redistricting plan that was approved by the Legislature during its 2022 session. Rhodes stated Tuesday that there are additional districts available for Black voters to choose their candidates during a virtual media presentation featuring multiple lawyers involved in redistricting litigation across the country. Rhodes noted that the Mississippi Legislature passed a “status-quo” redistricting program during the 2022 session. The plan makes 42 of the state’s 122 House districts majority African American while 15 of its 52 Senate districts have majority Black populations. Despite the fact that the 2020 U.S. Census data shows Mississippi’s non-white population grew significantly over the past 10 years, the redistricting plan was still approved. According to the 2020 Census, Mississippi’s white population has declined 95,791 over the past decade to 1,658,893. The Black population decreased by just 13,940 to 1,084,481 over the same period. Although minorities saw slight increases, they still make up a smaller portion of the state’s total population than the white and African American populations. According to Census data, the percentage of Mississippians who identify as not only white or African American was 3.85% by 2010. It now stands at 7.36 percent. The plan, which was approved by the Legislature and is now subject to a possible federal suit, means that 29% of the Senate districts were majority African American while 34% are. According to the 2020 Census, 38% of the state’s African American and partially African American population are located in the state, while 59% of the white population live there. Rhodes stated that the suit challenging the constitutionality the redistricting plan for the four U.S. House district was ongoing during the media presentation. It is not known if the three-judge federal panel hearing the congressional lawsuit will make a decision before the 2022 elections. June 7th is the party primary election to fill the House seats. November is the date for general elections. Rhodes is representing the NAACP at the congressional U.S. House Redistricting lawsuit. He said that there is more time for the NAACP to decide whether or not to challenge newly drawn state legislative district because those elections won’t occur until 2023.