U.S. Supreme Court rejects Alabama’s request to stay redistricting decision
The U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. (Jim Small | Arizona Mirror)
The United States Supreme Court Tuesday denied Alabama’s request to stay a lower court decision directing a special master to draw new congressional maps for Alabama to remedy Voting Rights Act violations.
The nation’s high court dismissed the request in two one-sentence orders Tuesday morning. No opinions were given with the decision, which could open the door to Alabama having two congressional districts with majority or near-majority Black populations.
Deuel Ross of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, representing plaintiffs who challenged Alabama’s maps, said in a phone interview Tuesday morning, said they were “excited and happy” about the ruling, coming a day after a special master submitted three proposed congressional maps creating two new congressional districts with between 48 and 53% Black Voting Age Population (BVAP).
“All these maps are better than what Alabama had proposed,” Ross said. “I think we’re still trying to figure out where we land on the three maps that special master’s proposed. ”
A message seeking comment was sent to the Alabama attorney general’s office on Tuesday.
A three-judge panel in 2022 ruled that Alabama’s 2021 congressional map violated the Voting Rights Act by packing Black voters into a single congressional district. The panel, citing the racial polarization of voting in Alabama — where white Alabamians tend to support Republicans and Black Alabamians tend to support Democrats — ordered the state to draw a second-majority Black district or “something quite close to it.”
After the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the lower court ruling last June, the Alabama Legislature in July approved a new map that created a 7th Congressional District in western Alabama and Birmingham with a BVAP of 50.65%, and a 2nd Congressional District in southeastern Alabama with a BVAP of less than 40%.
Plaintiffs said that map did not address the court’s orders, and the three-judge panel agreed earlier this month. U.S. Circuit Judge Stanley Marcus and U.S. district judges Anna Manasco and Terry Moorer ordered special master Richard Allen to draw new maps while accusing legislators of ignoring their initial ruling.
“We are not aware of any other case in which a state legislature — faced with a federal court order declaring that its electoral plan unlawfully dilutes minority votes and requiring a plan that provides an additional opportunity district — responded with a plan that the state concedes does not provide that district,” the judges wrote.
The state appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing the ruling would lead to “racial stereotyping” and violated their own redistricting principles.
The plaintiffs and the state have until Thursday to respond to Allen’s proposals.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.
Alabama Reflector is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Alabama Reflector maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Brian Lyman for questions: [email protected]. Follow Alabama Reflector on Facebook and Twitter.
GET THE MORNING HEADLINES DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.