Fairley v. Hattiesburg
Plaintiffs, Black residents of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, brought this Voting Rights Act challenge to the 2012 redistricting plan for Hattiesburg’s City Council. Due to shifts in population, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is now a majority-Black city. Black voters comprise the largest voting group in Hattiesburg and voting in the city is extremely racially polarized. In 2012, the White-majority City Council, over the objections of the Black members, adopted a redistricting plan that ensures that white majorities will control three out of the five City Council wards. The district court held that the plan is “roughly proportional” and therefore rejected Plaintiffs’ Voting Rights Act challenge. On appeal, Plaintiffs-Appellants argue that the plan deprives Black voters of an equal opportunity to participate in the political process and elect candidates of their choice.