Supreme Court docket rejects Alabama’s request to make use of congressional map with one majority-black district

By | September 26, 2023

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court docket on Tuesday handed Alabama Republicans defeat for the second time in three months, rejecting their newest try to make use of a congressional map that features just one majority-black district.

In two associated motions, the courtroom denied emergency requests from Republican state officers to dam decrease courtroom rulings that invalidated the brand new map. Decrease courtroom procedures to approve the brand new map are nonetheless ongoing.

The choice was consistent with the Supreme Court docket’s ruling towards the state in June that reaffirmed a key provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act. There have been no noticeable opposing voices, and the courtroom didn’t clarify their causes.

The Supreme Court docket’s earlier ruling pressured the state to return to the drafting board. However the brand new map – just like the earlier one – contains just one district by which black voters are possible to have the ability to elect a candidate of their selection. Alabama has seven congressional districts, and 27% of the state’s inhabitants is black.

The brand new map was introduced up in two completely different decrease courtroom rulings, with the justices saying a further black minority district was wanted, consistent with a Supreme Court docket ruling in June.

“We’re not conscious of another case the place a state legislature — confronted with a federal courtroom order declaring that its election plan illegally dilutes minority votes and requiring a plan to offer a further alternative zone — has responded with a plan acknowledged by the state that doesn’t.” “Doesn’t present that space,” one courtroom ruling stated.

A brand new map together with a second, majority-black district may assist Democrats of their bid to take management of the Home in subsequent yr’s elections, as blacks within the state usually tend to vote Democratic.

The 2 mixed circumstances arose from litigation over a congressional district map drawn by the Republican-controlled Legislature after the 2020 census. The challengers, together with particular person voters and the NAACP’s Alabama State Convention, stated the map violated Part 2 of the Voting Rights Act by discriminating In opposition to black voters.

Decrease courtroom judges have now repeatedly dominated that below present legislation, plaintiffs confirmed that Alabama’s black inhabitants was massive sufficient and compact sufficient for there to be a majority black second district.

Two conservatives — Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh — joined the three liberal justices within the majority within the Supreme Court docket’s ruling in June.

However the courtroom left open future challenges to the legislation, with Kavanaugh writing in a separate opinion that his vote didn’t rule out challenges to Part 2 primarily based on whether or not there was a time when the 1965 legislation’s mandate to take race under consideration in redistricting was now not legitimate. justification.

Alabama Legal professional Basic Steve Marshall seized on Kavanaugh’s statements in his movement to dam the decrease courtroom’s rulings.

He additionally cited the courtroom’s June determination to finish consideration of race in faculty admissions for example {that a} treatment for historic racial discrimination which will have been lawful and justified is now not applicable.

Attorneys for the opponents argued in courtroom papers that the state made no effort to attract a second, majority-black district regardless that that’s the solely treatment below present legislation.

The state “has no proper…to implement a congressional map that overtly defies the clear rulings of the district courtroom and this courtroom,” they wrote.

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