Alabama asked the US Supreme Court to reinstate a Republican-drawn congressional map, saying the state doesn’t have to create a second near-majority Black district even after losing a high court ruling earlier this year.
(Bloomberg) — Alabama asked the US Supreme Court to reinstate a Republican-drawn congressional map, saying the state doesn’t have to create a second near-majority Black district even after losing a high court ruling earlier this year.
The request aims to reopen a Supreme Court fight over the Voting Rights Act, the 1965 law that protects the rights of Black voters. In a 5-4 ruling in June, the high court upheld a lower court decision that said the state needed to create a second district in which Black voters can elect the candidate of their choice.
But when it redrew the map, Alabama’s Republican-controlled legislature increased the percentage of Black voters in a pivotal district only to 40%, well below the level courts have generally said is sufficient to pass muster under the Voting Rights Act.
The case is being closely watched in part because similar fights are being waged in Louisiana, Texas and Georgia in cases that could help determine control of the US House. If granted, Alabama’s request would all but guarantee the Republican-drawn map would be used for the 2024 election.
A three-judge panel struck down the new Alabama map this month, saying the state was flouting the earlier ruling requiring the second district to have either a Black majority “or something quite close to it.”
The panel said it was “deeply troubled that the state enacted a map that the state readily admits does not provide the remedy we said federal law requires.”
In its filing Monday, Alabama said the ruling would “impose a race-segregated court-drawn plan that splits communities of interest to create a second majority-Black district, in violation of the state’s redistricting principles.”
Alabama asked the high court to block the ruling while it pursues the appeal. Under the procedures that govern some voting-rights cases, the state can appeal directly to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court ruling in June didn’t preclude the possibility of a constitutional challenge to the disputed part of the Voting Rights Act. In a key concurring opinion, Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote that “the authority to conduct race-based redistricting cannot extend indefinitely into the future.”
The case is Allen v. Milligan, 23A231.
More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.