The Leadership Conference Condemns Alarming Appellate Court Ruling That Threatens People of Color’s Freedom To Vote

Contact: Sofia Costas, [email protected] 

WASHINGTON — Maya Wiley, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, released the following statement on the Eighth Circuit ruling from Arkansas limiting Voting Rights Act enforcement:

“We know that for our democracy to work for all of us, it must include us all. Today’s ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit poses a severe threat to the ability of people to fight for their freedom to vote and to elect candidates of their choice. The court ruled that the very citizens harmed by racial discrimination in redistricting cannot file lawsuits under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, even though private plaintiffs have brought the majority of such cases for decades.

“As anti-voter extremists continue to push for state-based restrictions on our freedom to vote and fair representation, the Voting Rights Act is the first defense for ensuring that communities of color can fully participate in the political process. This decision strikes at the very purpose of the Voting Rights Act by saying that those excluded from democracy cannot rely on the Voting Rights Act to enforce their rights. A civil rights law is only as good as its enforcement, and Congress certainly intended to protect individual voters when it passed the Voting Rights Act nearly 60 years ago.   

“The Supreme Court reaffirmed last term in the Alabama congressional redistricting case that racial gerrymandering is prohibited under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The court’s attempt today to block the ability of voters even to challenge race discrimination in redistricting must not stand.”

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 240 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit