Fight over Miss. district's racial makeup back at appeals court

Source: MGN

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A federal appeals court has heard arguments on whether boundaries for a state Senate district in Mississippi were set in a way that illegally diluted black voting strength.

A federal judge ruled in February that boundaries for Senate District 22 should be redrawn. The state has appealed. However, the legislature also has redrawn the district lines while the appeal plays out.

It's unclear how soon the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans will rule following Tuesday's arguments. Mississippi's governor and secretary of state asked in a May letter that the court immediately reverse the district judge and reinstate the old district, so qualifying could be reopened ahead of the Aug. 6 election.

But there was no indication the appellate judges would rule quickly.

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Earlier:

A federal appeals court is set to hear arguments in a case involving boundaries for a Mississippi State Senate district with just weeks to go before an Aug. 6 primary.

A federal judge ruled in February that boundaries for Senate District 22 illegally dilute black voting strength. The legislature redrew the lines in March.

But Mississippi's governor and secretary of state want the old boundaries reinstated. They're asking the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to immediately overturn the district judge and re-open qualifying for the old district.

Others say the judge's order and the new boundaries should stand. They argue a change now would needlessly disrupt the race.