Judge Stras, joined by Judge Gruender, affirming the district court. From the opening in Arkansas State Conference of the NAACP v. Arkansas Board of Apportionment: “Did Congress give private plaintiffs the ability to sue under § 2 of the Voting Rights Act? Text and structure reveal that the answer is no, so we affirm the district court’s decision to dismiss.”
And Chief Judge Smith in dissent: “Admittedly, the Court has never directly addressed the existence of a private right of action under § 2; however, it has repeatedly considered such cases, held that private rights of action exist under other sections of the VRA, and concluded in other VRA cases that a private right of action exists under § 2. Until the Court rules or Congress amends the statute, I would follow existing precedent that permits citizens to seek a judicial remedy. Rights so foundational to self-government and citizenship should not depend solely on the discretion or availability of the government’s agents for protection. Resolution of whether § 2 affords private plaintiffs the ability to challenge state action is best left to the Supreme Court in the first instance.”
My summary from oral argument earlier this year is here.