Supreme Court Ruling: Alabama must include Black residents in voting map
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down Republican-drawn congressional districts in Alabama that civil rights activists say discriminated against Black voters in a surprise reaffirmation of the landmark Voting Rights Act. What We Know: The court in a 5-4 vote ruled against Alabama, meaning the map of the seven congressional districts, which heavily [...]
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down Republican-drawn congressional districts in Alabama that civil rights activists say discriminated against Black voters in a surprise reaffirmation of the landmark Voting Rights Act.
What We Know:
- The court in a 5-4 vote ruled against Alabama, meaning the map of the seven congressional districts, which heavily favors Republicans, will now be redrawn. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, both conservatives, joined the court’s three liberals in the majority.
- Roberts, writing for the majority, said a lower court had correctly concluded that the congressional map violated the voting rights law.
- Roberts wrote that there are genuine fears that the Voting Rights Act “may impermissibly elevate race in the allocation of political power” and that the Alabama ruling “does not diminish or disregard those concerns.”
- The two consolidated cases arose from litigation over the new congressional district map that was drawn by the Republican-controlled Alabama Legislature after the 2020 census. The challengers, including individual voters and the Alabama State Conference of the NAACP, said the map violated Section 2 of the 1965 voting rights law by discriminating against Black voters.
- The new map created one district out of seven in the state in which Black voters would likely be able to elect a candidate of their choosing. The challengers say that the state, which has a population that is more than a quarter Black, should have two such districts and provided evidence that such a district could be drawn. In January, a lower court agreed saying that under Supreme Court precedent ,the plaintiffs had shown that Alabama’s Black population was both large enough and sufficiently compact for there to be a second majority-Black district.
- The same lower court ordered the new map to be drawn, but Alabama’s Attorney General, Steve Marshall, turned to the Supreme Court to put it on hold. Alabama argued that the lower court put too much emphasis on race in reaching its conclusions. Marshall said in court papers that the fact that the challengers were able to show that it was possible to draw a second majority-Black district was not sufficient evidence that the state’s actions were discriminatory. He cited other traditional “race-neutral” map-drawing factors that take into account issues such as regional culture and identity, as well as the requirement that districts have similar-sized populations.
This ruling precedes the coming ruling of two other cases bearing heard by the court. In one, the court could end affirmative action in college admissions, another strikes down protections that give Native Americans preference to adopting Native American children.
This is a breaking new story. Portions of this article were first cited by CNBC.