Federal Judges Nix Alabama Congressional Map For Excluding 2nd District For Black Voters—Again
The high courts have had enough of racist political tactics out of Alabama.
The Associated Press reports that federal judges rejected the state’s congressional maps—again—on Sept. 5 after failing to create a second district for Black voters to at least come close to comprising a majority. In their decision, the three-judge panel wrote how “deeply troubled” they were after Alabama lawmakers went against their instructions to create another majority-Black district or something close to it. “The law requires the creation of an additional district that affords Black Alabamians, like everyone else, a fair and reasonable opportunity to elect candidates of their choice,” U.S. Circuit Judge Stanley Marcus, U.S. District Judge Anna Manasco, and U.S. District Judge Terry Moorer wrote in the ruling.
“The 2023 Plan plainly fails to do so,” said the judges in their ruling.
The GOP-controlled Alabama Legislature drew new lines over the summer of 2023 after the U.S. Supreme Court stood in favor of the panel in June after the panel found the map, with only one majority-Black district out of seven in a state with a 27% Black resident population, likely violated the U.S. Voting Rights Act.
Now, lawmakers claim they will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to put the order on hold so they can appeal. The office of Attorney General Steve Marshall called the decision “disappointing.” “While we are disappointed in today’s decision, we strongly believe that the Legislature’s map complies with the Voting Rights Act and the recent decision of the U.S. Supreme Court,” the office said in a statement.
The Supreme Court has been quiet on the issue, so there is no word on whether or not they are willing to revisit the controversial case. The panel is well aware of the case’s driving force of not only going against the court’s past rulings on Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act but also being a factor in determining which party controls the next U.S. House of Representatives. “We are not aware of any other case in which a state legislature — faced with a federal court order declaring that its electoral plan unlawfully dilutes minority votes and requiring a plan that provides an additional opportunity district — responded with a plan that the state concedes does not provide that district,” the judges’ panel said, according to NPR.
All three judges have assigned court-appointed experts for the 2024 elections to draw three potential maps that will include two districts where Black voters have a realistic opportunity of electing their preferred candidate.