Battle Over Alabama Voting District Map Now Returns To Federal Court

Alabama’s GOP-controlled legislature invited a legal showdown when it submitted a revised congressional district map that opponents say conflicts with federal court rulings – including the U.S. Supreme Court – that ordered the state to comply with the Voting Rights Act.

The Associated Press reports that state lawmakers approved new district lines Friday (July 21) with only one majority-Black district out of seven districts, even though the state is 27 percent Black.

In creating the new congressional map, the Republicans increased the percentage of Black voters from 31 percent to almost 40 percent in the majority-White 2nd Congressional District, while decreasing  the Black voting-age population in the state’s only majority-Black district to 50.65 percent.

The revised map appears to conflict with a surprise U.S. Supreme Court ruling on June 8 that upheld a lower federal court decision that ordered Alabama to draw new congressional lines to create a second district where Black voters are the majority “or something quite close to it” so Black voters can have an opportunity to elect a representative of their choice.

Supreme Court Orders New Congressional District Map In Victory For Black Alabama Voters

A group of voters who won the Supreme Court case announced that they will challenge Alabama’s revised congressional map. They want the legislature to create a second district where Black residents are a clear majority, which they say aligns with the federal courts’ directive.

“The Alabama Legislature believes it is above the law. What we are dealing with is a group of lawmakers who are blatantly disregarding not just the Voting Rights Act, but a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court and a court order from the three-judge district court,” the plaintiffs said in a statement, according to the AP.

“Even worse, they continue to ignore constituents’ pleas to ensure the map is fair and instead remain determined to rob Black voters of the representation we deserve,” the statement continued.

The federal appeals court scheduled a hearing for Aug. 14 to review the revised congressional map, which Alabama’s attorney general argues is compliant with court rulings.

“The Legislature’s new plan fully and fairly applies traditional principles in a way that complies with the Voting Rights Act. Contrary to mainstream media talking points, the Supreme Court did not hold that Alabama must draw two majority-minority districts,” state Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office said in a statement, according to the AP.

”Instead, the Court made clear that the VRA never requires adoption of districts that violate traditional redistricting principles,” the statement continued.

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