Read the court's decision (PDF)
A federal three-judge panel decided to do nothing regarding an NAACP suit against the state to update the state district election maps.
"Absent a plan adopted by the Mississippi Legislature and precleared by the Justice Department, the elections in 2011 for the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Mississippi will be conducted under the districts as they are presently configured," the court opined today.
The NAACP filed a suit in March, demanding the federal court impose new district maps for state elections in time for the June 1 qualifying deadline, primaries and subsequent elections.
The NAACP argued that current district maps are out of date, as revealed by 2010 Census data showing population shifts to urban areas of the state.
Representatives for the state, including an attorney for Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, argued at a May 10 hearing that that the state will not have adequate time to prepare county election officials for new maps if the court imposed a new plan. NAACP Mississippi President Derrick Johnson argued at the hearing that local election officials could be prepared for the new maps in only a handful of days.
NAACP attorney Carroll Rhodes would not immediately offer comment on the decision.
The NAACP filed suit after the Republican-dominated Mississippi Senate refused to approve a district plan promoted by the Democrat-majority House, stalling the process.
The court basically recognized current legislative districts are grossly mal-apportioned, and still approved them for the 2011 elections at the expense of 'one person, one vote'. When you consider that the three conservative ballot initiatives ('personhood', eminent domain and voter i.d.) will be up for a vote in November, this could be a real blow to progress in this state.