Alabama Ordered To Use New Congressional Map That Empowers Black Voters

The new district could put the Democrats in play to pick up an additional House seat in the 2024 election.

A federal court has approved a new congressional map in Alabama that boosts the Black population in a second district, dramatically increasing Black voting power in the state.

According to the Associated Press, the new district could put the Democrats in play to pick up an additional seat in the 2024 election.

After ruling that the Alabama legislature, which was dominated by a Republican majority, violated the Voting Rights Act by illegally stripping away the voting power of Black residents, the judges decided to select a new congressional map on Thursday (October 5).

Black residents of Alabama, who make up 27 percent of the state’s population, were a majority in one of the state’s seven congressional districts in the previous map. Voting rights advocates sued, alleging a violation of the Voting Rights Act.

In June, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Black Alabama voters as conservatives Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh sided with the court’s three liberal justices in the 5-4 decision.

But Alabama’s GOP-dominated legislature created a revised map in July that defied court orders to create a second majority-Black district or “something close to it.”

In September, the appeals court rejected Alabama’s second map in a sharply worded ruling, which the Supreme Court  later upheld.

The federal judges, two of whom were appointed by former President Donald Trump, said they were “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.”

Deuel Ross, an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund who represented plaintiffs in the lawsuit, shared his excitement about the outcome of the case.

“It’s a historic day for Alabama. It will be the first time in which Black voters will have an opportunity to elect candidates of their choice in two congressional districts,” Ross said on Thursday (October 5).

The plaintiff described the ruling as an “unequivocal win that will translate to increased opportunities for those who have too long been denied the fair representation they deserve.”

Supreme Court Rejects Alabama’s Attempt To Disregard Voting Rights Decision

“We’re glad to see that process result in a federal court selecting a map that allows all, all the people of Alabama to have their voices heard,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre added.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said although the map will be used in the 2024 elections, the state will continue to fight to restore the maps that Republicans had previously drawn.

“The Voting Rights Act was enacted to undo gerrymanders, not create them ... Anyone who looks at the state’s map next to the map now imposed on the state can tell which is the racial gerrymander,” Marshall’s statement read.

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Holder, chairman of the National Redistricting Foundation that challenged Alabama’s original map, issued a statement after the decision.

“In spite of the shameful intransigence of Alabama Republicans, justice has finally prevailed in the state,” said Holder, adding “that denying equal representation to Black voters, violating the Voting Rights Act, and defying federal court orders is a direct tie to an odious past and will no longer be tolerated.”

The Alabama decision could have nationwide ramifications as other states such as  Republican-drawn maps are being legally challenged in Florida, Georgia, and elsewhere.

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