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Alabama is once again asking the Supreme Court to allow it to keep Republican-drawn congressional districts. In essence, the State is objecting to a court decision that the High Court upheld only a few months ago.
In June, the court ruled that Alabama’s congressional map violated the Voting Rights Act because, in a state with seven congressional districts and a 27 percent black population, the Republican Party-dominated legislature had not created only one congressional district in which black voters are in the majority. or nearby.
The court’s decision, by a vote of five to four, upheld the unanimous decision of a three-judge panel that included two Trump appointees; the lower court had required the creation of a second majority-black congressional district.
But the state legislature did not do so. Instead, the number of black voters increased by 30 to 40 percent in one of the districts.
This drew a stern rebuke from the lower court; he accused the state of delaying tactics and deliberately defying his directive, then appointed a special master to draw a new congressional map with two majority-black districts.
The three-judge panel refused to stay its order, saying Alabama voters should not have to endure a new congressional election on an “illegal map.”
The state has now appealed a second time to the Supreme Court, seeking to delay the creation of a new map while continuing its appeal. He apparently hopes to eliminate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who joined with Chief Justice John Roberts, author of the June opinion, and the three liberal courts, to order a second district with a black majority. Kavanaugh wrote a concurring opinion in which he suggested that while he agreed with Roberts’ opinion for now, “race-based redistricting cannot extend indefinitely into the future.”
Indeed, one of the arguments Alabama is currently pursuing on appeal is the claim that the Voting Rights Act, intended to combat the dilution of the black vote, is unconstitutional. If the Supreme Court allowed this claim to be pursued now, it would certainly delay beyond the 2024 elections any implementation of a new congressional map with two majority-Black districts.
On Tuesday, Judge Clarence Thomas, overseeing Alabama’s appeals, ordered a response filed by Monday to the state’s request for a delay.
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