In a stunning decision, the conservative-dominated US Supreme Court sided with black voters who argued that the Republican map of districts in Alabama was discriminatory.
In a 5-4 ruling, the court said the congressional map — which includes a single majority for a black Congress with only a majority of one in seven, in a state where more than one in four residents are black — likely violated the era’s voting. Historical civil rights. Represent.
The case was closely watched for its potential to weaken the Voting Rights Act, which was passed in 1965 and was intended to prevent Jim Crow-era racial discrimination in the American vote. Several Supreme Court decisions in recent years have abandoned the legislation, including a 2013 ruling that blocked a provision in the law that requires states with a history of discriminatory electoral practices to face federal review of new laws and procedures.
The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday hailed the latest ruling as “a major victory for black voters in Alabama,” saying the disputed map “weakens black political power.”
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined court liberals in the majority decision.
BREAKING: The Supreme Court just ruled that Alabama’s 2021 congressional map violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965 because it dilutes black political power.
Alabama must now redraw its congressional map.
– ACLU (ACLU) June 8, 2023
In the lower courts, challengers to the Alabama map argued that the combine reduced the influence of black voters by concentrating their voting power in one district while distributing the rest of the black population to levels too small to form a majority in other areas. .
They accused the card of violating Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, a provision intended to counter actions that lead to racial bias in voting, even where there is no racial intent. The Supreme Court ruling said Alabama’s black population is already large enough and geographically compact enough to warrant designating a second district.
Alabama, which appealed the lower court’s decision, argued that creating a second district to give black voters a better chance of electing their preferred candidates would be itself racist.
They argued that the second district would favor them over other voters and called the current map “racially neutral”.
During oral arguments to the Supreme Court in October, Justice Kitangi Brown Jackson rejected the idea that race should not be part of the redistricting equation.
She said that amendments to the United States Constitution in the aftermath of the Civil War created a legal basis for legislation “designed to make people have fewer opportunities and fewer equal rights than white citizens.”
But partisan politics supports the redistricting cause. US states redraw congressional districts to reflect demographic changes every decade. In most states, redistricting is done by the ruling party at the time, which regularly leads to accusations of rigging maps for partisan purposes.
Republicans control the Alabama state legislature. Creating a new district with a large – if not a majority – black population could send the state a second Democrat to the U.S. House of Representatives.