A lawsuit has been filed against Mississippi by three African American Mississippians and supported by the Obama-backed Chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting committee Eric Holder, former Attorney General under the Obama administration.
The suit, assigned to Judge Robert Jordan III (George W. Bush appointee), was filed on Thursday and targets the election requirements that the statewide candidates must receive the majority of popular vote as well as at least 62 of the 122 House of Representative Districts. A tiebreaker in a statewide election is decided by the House of Representatives if a candidate fails to meet both of of those requirements and Representatives are not required to vote with their district.
Mississippi Eric Holder Case by on Scribd
The core tenet of the lawsuit, filed by lead attorney Rob McDuff, 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.
According to The Hill, The National Redistricting Foundation, which is affiliated with the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC), is providing financial and legal support for the suit. The board makeup for the NDRC is comprised of Democrats including representation from the Democrat Governor’s Association, which figures to be a large player in the financing for the Mississippi gubernatorial campaign, and House Majority PAC. Funding for the organization is substantial and completely partisan.
Chairman of the NDRC Eric Holder told the AP the rules 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 timing of this lawsuit and the partisan forces behind it seem to be clearly targeted for the benefit of Jim Hood. In 1999, Ronnie Musgrove (D) and Mike Parker (R) were locked in a close election battle in which this provision became germane. Political analysts have speculated that a similar situation could happen in 2019 whereby a Democrat candidate could essentially run up the score in more densely populated areas but lose the more numerous rural districts to more Republican leaning candidates.