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

In a surprise ruling, two conservative justices sided with the court’s liberal wing.

The U.S. Supreme Court delivered a win for Black voters in Alabama with a 5-4 ruling Thursday (June 8) that struck down Republican-drawn congressional districts that civil rights activists said were racially discriminatory, CBS News reports.

Two of the court’s conservative justices – Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh – sided with the three justices on the court’s liberal wing in a decision that reaffirmed the Voting Rights Act, which the high court gutted in its 2013 Shelby County v. Holder ruling.

The decision upheld a lower-court ruling that took issue with Alabama’s congressional map that created one majority Black seat out of seven congressional districts in a state where more than one in four residents is Black.

In January 2022, a lower court ruled that legislators should have drawn districts in a way that gave minorities a majority in two of the state’s seven congressional districts. They said it likely violated the Voting Rights Act by denying Black voters a fair chance to elect a representative of their choice.

Alabama Appeals Federal Court Ruling That Its Redistricting Map Violates Black Voting Rights

“We see no reason to disturb the District Court’s careful factual findings,” Roberts wrote in the opinion for the majority, adding that Alabama sought a radical rewrite of the court’s precedents.

Justice Clarence Thomas led the conservatives who dissented in the ruling, writing that his preferred outcome “would not require the federal judiciary to decide the correct racial apportionment of Alabama’s congressional seats,” NBC News reports.

The U.S. Constitution requires states to redraw their congressional district lines every 10 years after census results. Often, the party in control of state legislatures manipulates the process to win political advantage.

According to, Blacks comprise 27 percent of the state’s population, but they only constituted a majority in one of the state’s seven congressional districts, which adds up to just 14 percent of the districts.

“Thankfully, the court today identified Alabama’s redistricting scheme as a textbook violation of the landmark civil rights law," Abha Khanna, a lawyer for plaintiffs who challenged the maps, said, according to NBC News.

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