Justice Clarence Thomas Penned 50-Page Dissent As Supreme Court Upheld Voting Rights Act

Justice Clarence Thomas Penned 50-Page Dissent As Supreme Court Upheld Voting Rights Act

The Supreme Court ruled that Alabama’s Congressional Map discriminated against Black voters, giving voting rights advocates a surprise victory and reaffirming the remaining protections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

The High Court, which has a 6-3 Republican majority, ruled against the state in a 5-4 decision Thursday, saying Alabama’s map of its seven congressional districts heavily favored Republicans. Just one of the seven districts featured a majority Black population. The ruling affirms a lower court ruling forcing the state to create a second congressional district where Black voters make up or are close to a voting age majority.

The case, Allen v. Milligan, arose when the Republican-controlled Alabama Legislature drew a new congressional district map after the 2020 Census. The NAACP, as well as individual voters, sued, saying the map violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, joined the three liberal justices to make the majority.

According to The New York Times, the decision could impact other states in the Deep South and force them to redraw congressional maps. However, despite the victory, the two conservative justices still harbored reservations concerning the Voting Rights Act, and left the door open for future challenges.

Still, many celebrated the ruling, including NAACP President Derrick Johnson, who praised the court for ruling against what he called an effort to suppress the Black vote.

“This decision is a victory for Black America and a triumph for our democracy,” Johnson said according to NBC News. “This fight is far from over.”

Justice Clarence Thomas, who did not agree with the ruling, wrote a 48-page dissent saying the Voting Rights Act doesn’t require Alabama to “intentionally redraw its longstanding congressional districts so that Black voters can control several seats roughly proportional to the black share of the State’s population.”

Alabama has a dark history of voter suppression that continues to this day. In 2013, an Alabama county challenged the constitutionality of two provisions of the Voting Rights Act and in a 5-4 vote the Supreme Court ruled Section 4(b) of the Act was unconstitutional.

Additionally, the state does not offer early voting and is also one of 11 states that require a witness or notary to sign a voter’s absentee ballot. During Jim Crow, Alabama adopted a poll tax, a literacy test, and established property requirements as qualifications to vote.