Supreme Court rejects Alabama’s bid to use congressional map with just one majority-Black district

September 27, 2023
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WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Tuesday handed a defeat to Alabama Republicans for the second time in three months, rejecting their latest attempt to use a congressional map that includes only one majority-Black district.

The court in two related applications refused emergency requests from Republican state officials to block lower court rulings that invalidated the new map. Lower court proceedings to approve a new map continue.

The decision was in line with the Supreme Court ruling against the state in June that reaffirmed a key provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act in rejecting the state’s first effort to draw congressional district boundaries.

No dissenting votes were noted, and the court did not explain its reasoning.

“Alabama’s open defiance of the Voting Rights Act stops today,” said Abha Khanna, a lawyer who helped challenge the maps.

She expressed hope that the decision might “prompt Alabama to rethink their dogged resistance to providing equal political opportunities to Black Alabamians.”

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, a Republican, doubled down on the state’s approach, saying in a statement Tuesday that both maps the state has drawn should have been upheld.

“It is now clear that none of the maps proposed by Republican supermajorities had any chance of success. Treating voters as individuals would not do. Instead, our elected representatives and our voters must apparently be reduced to skin color alone,” he said.

The Supreme Court’s earlier ruling forced the state back to the drawing board. But the new map — like the previous one — includes only one district where Black voters are likely to be able to elect a candidate of their choosing. Alabama has seven congressional districts, and 27% of its population is Black.

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