US judge to hear arguments in Arkansas redistricting case

February 1, 2022 GMT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A federal judge will hear arguments Tuesday over a lawsuit challenging Arkansas’ new state House maps.

U.S. District Judge Lee Rudofsky will hear arguments Tuesday from Arkansas Public Policy Panel and the Arkansas State Conference NAACP and from the state over the redistricting lawsuit.

The groups have asked the judge to block the new state House maps, saying they dilute the strength of Black voters in Arkansas.

Rudofsky last month rejected a request from the groups that he recuse himself from hearing the lawsuit. The groups had cited Rudofksy’s ties to the state’s Republican governor and attorney general.

The new House boundaries were drawn last year by the state Board of Apportionment, which is comprised of Governor Asa Hutchinson, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and Secretary of State John Thurston. All three are Republicans.

Rudofsky on Monday ruled the three elected officials don’t have to attend or testify in the hearing, granted a request by the state to quash subpoenas issued for the three.

The GOP holds a majority of both chambers of the state Legislature.