The Supreme Court on Wednesday is expected to consider a federal court ruling that Nancy Mace’s congressional district in South Carolina was the subject of racial gerrymandering.
South Carolina Republicans have asked the Supreme Court to review the decision. In a written submission, they said that, unless voted out, Democrats could still claim a racial gerrymander whenever a Republican-leaning district is created.
Mace is a Republican who clashed numerous times with former President Donald Trump, but is now a serious contender for the vice presidential running mate if he wins the Republican nomination.
Congressional District 1, which includes parts of Charleston, had elected Republicans to the House from 1980 to 2016, with Democrats winning it in 2018. Mace won the GOP seat in 2020 and was re-elected in November 2022 .
In a 2021 redistricting, Republican officials redistricted 140,000 residents, including 30,000 Black residents, from District 1 to Congressional District 6, a Democratic stronghold, to make the former a safer Republican seat. Redistricting removed 62 percent of black voters from Mace’s district.
The map passed in January 2022 and Mace was re-elected in November of that year, but the NAACP and other civil rights groups challenged the Congressional District 1 lines as a racial gerrymander.
A three-judge federal panel agreed that race was the predominant factor in the district’s draw.
The panel concluded that GOP lawmakers had set a goal of 17 percent black voting-age population in Congressional District 1.
“The movement of more than 30,000 African Americans into a single county, from Congressional District No. 1 to Congressional District No. 6, created a veritable racial gerrymander in Charleston County,” the justices wrote after a eight-day trial.
One of the three judges, District Judge Richard M. Gergel, said during the trial that such a large shift of black voters could only have been achieved intentionally.
“If you see a turtle on top of a fence post, you know someone put it there. It’s not a coincidence,” he said.
News week contacted the NAACP and Mace’s office via email for comment.
The February GOP submission said: “If not corrected, the panel’s decision would place states in an impossible bind by exposing them to potential liability for racial gerrymandering whenever they refuse to make districts majority-majority. white and modestly Republican, mostly Democratic. inviting federal courts to micromanage political conflicts in countless districts across the country under the guise of overseeing the fine-tuning of their racial makeup.
Civil rights groups argued in their written submissions to the Supreme Court that using race as the predominant factor for redistricting is unconstitutional.
The claim before the Supreme Court that redistricting violated black rights is unusual because recent cases have primarily concerned white voter suppression in majority-black areas.
“What makes this case interesting is that it is the first allegation of racial gerrymandering involving a district with a large white population, where race was used to artificially suppress a district’s black population,” Harvard University law professor Nicholas Stephanopoulos told CBS News. .
“In each of these cases, this is a heavily minority district, and the claim is that race was used to inflate the minority population.”
In Shelby County v. Holder In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that Section 4(b) of the pro-civil rights Voters Rights Act of 1965 was unconstitutional because it was based on data more than 40 years old, which made it unsuitable for current needs. The law required certain states and local governments with a history of suppressing black voters to obtain federal authorization before implementing changes to their election laws or practices.
The Supreme Court noted that census data indicated that black turnout had become higher than white turnout in five of the six states initially covered by preclearance, with a gap in the sixth state of less than half of 1 percent.