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Judge wants Justice Department to join voting rights case



Little Rock, Arkansas — Unless the Justice Department joins the case as a plaintiff, a federal judge said Thursday he’s dismissing a lawsuit challenging Arkansas’ new state House districts as diluting the influence of Black voters.

According to U.S. District Judge Lee Rudofsky, there’s “a strong merits case that at least some of the challenged districts” in the lawsuit by two groups violate the federal Voting Rights Act.

In a 42-page decision, Rudofsky said he can’t rule on the merits of the case and gave the Justice Department five days to join as a plaintiff before he dismisses it.

“After a thorough analysis of the text and structure of the Voting Rights Act, and a painstaking journey through relevant case law, the Court has concluded that this case may be brought only by the Attorney General of the United States,” Rudofsky, who was named to the bench by former President Donald Trump, wrote.

The Justice Department declined to comment on the ruling.

The ruling comes days before candidates can begin filing for legislative and state offices in Arkansas.

On Tuesday, the one-week filing period begins.