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Federal Judges Block Private Plaintiffs from Suing to Enforce Voting Rights Act

HeadlineNov 21, 2023

A federal appeals panel has blocked individuals and civil rights groups, such as the NAACP, from suing to enforce the Voting Rights Act — granting that authority solely to the U.S. government. Voting rights advocates warn Monday’s 2-1 decision by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals could further erode the landmark 1965 law, weakening provisions that protect Black and other voters of color from racial discrimination. The majority decision was written by Judge David Stras, who was appointed by Donald Trump. The ruling stems from a gerrymandering case in Arkansas in which the state chapter of the NAACP accused Arkansas of restricting voting access to Black citizens. Sophia Lin Lakin, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, who argued the case, slammed the decision as a “travesty for democracy,” saying the ruling “has put the Voting Rights Act in jeopardy, tossing aside critical protections that voters fought and died for.” The ruling is expected to be challenged and could head to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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