A federal appeals court has dealt a blow to the ability of private individuals and groups to sue over congressional maps claiming racial discrimination.
A federal appeals court has issued a key ruling that prohibits private citizens and entities from filing lawsuits under a section of the Voting Rights Act that has been used extensively to bring legal challenges to redistricting processes on the premise that they’re racist.
In a 2–1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit ruled on Nov. 20 that only the federal government can bring legal challenges under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, upholding an earlier ruling by an Arkansas judge that private citizens or civil rights groups cannot bring Section 2 lawsuits.
The vast majority of lawsuits filed under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act—which prohibits discrimination based on race—have been brought by private individuals and groups who did not represent the U.S. government.
In legal terms, the ability of non-government entities to bring lawsuits is called a “private right of action,” also referred to as a “private cause of action.”
In February 2022, U.S. District Judge Lee Rudofsky, an appointee of former…
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