Alabama congressional map struck down again for diluting Black voting power

September 14, 2023
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A three-judge federal panel said it was ‘deeply troubled’ that the state legislature had not complied with an earlier order

A panel of three federal judges rejected Alabama’s latest version of its congressional map Tuesday, saying the state’s Republican-led legislature did not follow a court order backed by the U.S. Supreme Court to comply with the Voting Rights Act when it last redrew districts in July.

The ruling — which Alabama is planning to appeal — further bolsters challenges of maps drawn by GOP-led legislatures in several other Southern states, where Democrats and civil rights groups have brought lawsuits arguing that Republicans are illegally diluting the power of Black voters. The outcomes of these challenges have the potential to shift the political makeup of federal and state legislative bodies, including which party controls Congress.

The judges in the Alabama case have directed a special master and cartographer to create three proposed remedial plans. The plans are due to be filed “no later than the close of business” on Sept. 25. Parties in the cases can subsequently file any written objections to the new plans to the court.
“We do not take lightly federal intrusion into a process ordinarily reserved for the State Legislature. But we have now said twice that this Voting Rights Act case is not close,” the judges wrote in the order. “And we are deeply troubled that the State enacted a map that the State readily admits does not provide the remedy we said federal law requires.”
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