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Judge won't recuse himself from Arkansas redistricting case

2019-07-31-Lee_Rudofsky.jpg
U.S. Senate
Lee Rudofsky speaking to the Senate Judiciary Committee during his confirmation hearing on July 31, 2019.

A federal judge says he won’t recuse himself from hearing a lawsuit challenging Arkansas’ new state House maps, rejecting complaints from groups who cited his connections to the state’s Republican attorney general and governor.

U.S. District Judge Lee Rudofsky on Wednesday denied the motion to recuse by the Arkansas Public Policy Panel and the Arkansas State Conference NAACP. The groups have asked the judge to block the new state House maps, saying they dilute the strength of Black voters in Arkansas.

The groups cited campaign contributions Rudofsky made to Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, who along with Secretary of State John Thurston comprise the panel in charge of state legislative redistricting.

They also cited Rudofsky’s past work as solicitor general in Rutledge’s office.

Rudofsky said his impartiality couldn’t be reasonably questioned in the case and said he’s never discussed anything related to the redistricting plan with Rutledge.

Rudofsky earlier this week set a Jan. 27 hearing on the groups’ motion for a preliminary injunction against the redistricting map.

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