Friday, April 3, 2015

Statement on the Official Ruling of the United States Supreme Court Case of Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama and Alabama Democratic Conference v. Alabama.

On March 25, 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court made a decision in Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama and Alabama Democratic Conference v. Alabama.

In a 5-4 decision, the Court vacated the decision of an Alabama lower court in the consolidated cases of the Alabama Legislative Black Caucus and the Alabama Democratic Conference and sent them back for reconsideration. Justice Stephen Breyer speaking for the majority of Court stated that the lower court’s decision was legally erroneous and that the lower court should have considered individual districts instead of looking at the state as a whole in trying to determine if racial gerrymandering had occurred in the redistricting map. And although the Court did not hold the map unconstitutional, Justice Breyer suggested that some of the districts should be deemed unconstitutional since they were “packed” with minority voters.

NBCSL President Catherine Pugh (MD) issues the following statement:

“Today we applaud the U.S. Supreme Court in recognizing the impact of Black voter dilution and how the threat of racial gerrymandering prevents citizens’ voices from being heard. Hopefully, cases like Alabama and Florida become the example and not the exception when combatting racially biased redistricting. While we wait for a new Section 4 formula for the Voting Rights Act, state lawmakers will continue to fight for unrestricted access to the ballot box and the opportunity for all Americans to elect representatives they believe will advocate for their interests. Law, Justice and Ethics Policy Co-Chair, Representative Reginald Meeks (KY) echoed the statement and said, “These cases make clear our fight for equal justice continues unabated in this country for persons of color. And yet again, Alabama, Florida - and other states with ideas for limiting voter empowerment - are on the wrong side of history. I am so proud to be part of NCBSL, a national organization of elected officials dedicated to protecting the expanse of our national political, economic, social and legal interests."”

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