Skip to main content
Looking Up at a Courthouse with Columns on a Summer Day
Press Statement January 30, 2024

NAACP Reacts to Eighth Circuit’s Decision to Decline Rehearing Arkansas Redistricting Case

Looking Up at a Courthouse with Columns on a Summer Day


Contact: Alicia Mercedes,

January 30, 2024

WASHINGTON — Today, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals announced it will not rehear the Arkansas State Conference NAACP v. Arkansas Board of Apportionment voting case. Lead plaintiff, the Arkansas State Conference of the NAACP is challenging the Arkansas State House map, arguing that the map unlawfully suppresses Black voting power and violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Today's decision comes following an appeal in a 2-1 ruling in November where the Eighth Circuit panel backed a district court decision that determined private parties cannot pursue legal action to protect their voting rights under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. 

Janette McCarthy-Wallace, NAACP General Counsel, shared the following statement:

"Today's decision is a gut-wrenching blow to our fundamental right to vote. Since the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965, the ability for private parties to enforce its directives has been paramount to protecting, and advancing voting rights and access. The Eighth Circuit has rejected years of precedent, and its decision is reflective of a judiciary system that has been plagued by the politics of today. We're not backing down from this fight. As the nation's leading civil rights organization, the NAACP remains steadfast in our commitment to ensuring that every eligible voter has access to the ballot box. Our vote is our voice, and we're going to continue to make noise."

The Voting Rights Act has, for decades, given organizations and concerned citizens the freedom to litigate and enforce the protections of the Voting Rights Act. The Eighth Circuit's decision is in direct contradiction with decades of precedent. The Supreme Court recently ruled in the Voting Rights Act enforcement case of Merrill v. Milligan, a suit that was brought by NAACP's Alabama State Conference. 

"The refusal of the Eighth Circuit to grant a rehearing is not just a denial of our request; it's a denial of justice for the Black community in Arkansas," said Barry Jefferson, President, NAACP Arkansas State Conference, & plaintiff in the case. "This decision ignores the vital protections against discrimination that have been hard-won over decades. We are more determined than ever to find alternative pathways to challenge this unjust ruling and continue our fight to ensure that every voice is heard in our state's political process."

Unless the Supreme Court decides otherwise, today's decision will inhibit all voting rights enforcement attempts from private plaintiffs in states under the Eighth Circuit. These states include Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.



The NAACP advocates, agitates, and litigates for the civil rights due to Black America. Our legacy is built on the foundation of grassroots activism by the biggest civil rights pioneers of the 20th century and is sustained by 21st century activists. From classrooms and courtrooms to city halls and Congress, our network of members across the country works to secure the social and political power that will end race-based discrimination. That work is rooted in racial equity, civic engagement, and supportive policies and institutions for all marginalized people. We are committed to a world without racism where Black people enjoy equitable opportunities in thriving communities.

NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF - was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but now operates as a completely separate entity.