Supreme Court Refuses to Reconsider Alabama Voting Map Conflict

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The Supreme Court has denied Alabama’s request to reinstate a congressional map drawn by Republican lawmakers that only had one majority-Black district. This decision paves the way for a new map to be implemented before the 2024 election. The court’s order did not provide any reasons, which is common for emergency applications. Consequently, a special master and court-appointed cartographer will now create a new map.

This case’s outcome could have significant implications for the balance of power in the House, where Republicans currently hold a narrow majority. Lawmakers in Washington and other states with similar battles underway are closely monitoring the trajectory of this case. In June, the Supreme Court ruled that Alabama had harmed Black voters with its previous map, reaffirming parts of a key civil rights law. The state legislature attempted to draw a new map but failed to include an additional majority-Black district, despite nearly a quarter of the state’s population being Black. A federal three-judge panel overseeing the case ruled that this likely violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Alabama’s attorney general acknowledged that the legislature had not added a second majority-Black district as instructed by the federal court but argued that the new map still complied with the law. However, the panel of judges overseeing the case disagreed, stating that the legislature’s proposal failed to provide Black Alabamians with a fair and equal opportunity to elect candidates of their choice. The plaintiffs, which include Black voters and advocacy organizations, urged the Supreme Court to reject Alabama’s request and accused the state of defiantly trying to defy the courts using recycled arguments. They highlighted that the legislature had drawn the new plan in secret, without public input, and enacted it over alternative plans supported by Black Alabamians.

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