Supreme Court rejects Alabama’s effort to avoid drawing a second black majority district


The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an emergency bid by Alabama, setting the stage for a new congressional map that was expected to include a second black-majority district to account for the state’s 27% black population.

The one-line order shows sentiment toward the court hasn’t changed since June when a 5-4 Supreme Court ruling affirmed a lower court that allowed the state to add a second majority-black district to its seven-seat Ordered to re-draw the Congress map. Or “something very close to this.”

There were no known disagreements.

The case is being closely watched because following the court’s June decision, Alabama GOP lawmakers again approved a congressional map with only one majority black district, violating the Supreme Court’s ruling. They appear to provide greater political representation for the state’s black residents.

The 5-4 opinion in June was written by Chief Justice John Roberts, who received the votes of fellow conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh as well as the court’s three liberal justices.

The same three-judge panel that first oversaw the case before it reached the Supreme Court wrote that it was “troubled” by Alabama’s actions in the case and invalidated the map, assigning a special master to draft new lines. Ordered to prepare.

“We are deeply troubled that the State has created a map that the State readily accepts, but that does not provide the remedy that we said is required by federal law,” the judges wrote.

The three-judge panel declined to put its decision on hold pending the appeal.

Alabama approached the Supreme Court and asked the court to block the lower court’s decision, arguing that its 2023 map passed legally even though it did not include a second majority-Black district.

The state argued that it could separate the new map from the plan that was invalidated in June.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, a Republican, argued that the new map left communities of interest intact, uniting the state’s so-called Black Belt.

Marshall argued, “The 2023 plan departed from existing district lines to unify the Black Belt, it split the minimum number of county lines needed to equalize population between districts, and it did not allow for changes in each district.” “Means making the map much more compact.”

Marshall argued that the lower court had erred by requiring the creation of a second majority-black district.

Marshall said, “The Court destroyed state discretion to apply traditional redistricting principles in 2023 by flatly refusing to postpone them when they did not produce ‘correct’ racial results.”

The state had requested the Supreme Court to take prompt action by issuing a stay till October 1, so that preparations for the elections for 2024 could begin.

Challengers to the map, represented by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the ACLU and others, had urged the justices to reject the state’s bid, arguing that the map in question dilutes the power of black voters.

He accused the state of “blatantly” disregarding the judges’ opinion issued just three months earlier.

The lawyers compared the state’s actions to “our unfortunate history of states opposing civil rights measures through laws and practices that, although neutral on their face, serve to maintain the status quo.”

This story has been updated with additional details.

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