District Judge Daniel Jordan has set a hearing for oral arguments on Friday in the case sponsored by the National Democrat Redistricting Committee, led by former US Attorney General Eric Holder (under President Obama), against the state of Mississippi.
The suit, assigned to Judge Robert Jordan III (George W. Bush appointee), was filed in May. It addresses the election requirements that statewide candidates must receive the majority of the popular vote as well as win the majorities in at least 62 of the 122 House of Representative Districts.
In the event of a tiebreaker, in a statewide election, it is then decided by the House of Representatives if a candidate fails to meet both of of those requirements. Under the state constitution, in that scenario, Representatives are not required to vote with their district.
The suit is backed by the Chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting committee Eric Holder, former Attorney General under the Obama administration.
The suit filed by lead attorney Rob McDuff, on behalf of four plaintiffs, says that because Mississippi has the highest black population by percentage in the country but does not have any black statewide elected officials, that the provision in the Mississippi constitution is essentially unconstitutional. Holder told the AP the rules as they stand violate the equal protection requirement of U.S. Constitution by weighing some votes above others.
“This is not a theoretical thing,” Holder said. “We have seen no statewide African American elected to office since this was enacted, in spite of the fact that Mississippi has the highest percentage of African Americans of any state in the country.”
The financial and legal support for the suit is coming from The National Redistricting Foundation, which is affiliated with the NDRC. The law firm of Perkins Coie, long associated with the DNC, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are listed as counsel for NDRC on the court docket.