The Supreme Court on Tuesday dealt a decisive blow to a congressional map drawn by Alabama Republicans, allowing court-appointed officials to instead draw maps that are more representative of Black voters.
In a brief order, the high court asks the state of Alabama to reverse a lower court’s decision to reject the state Legislature’s proposal to not include a majority-black 2nd District, as the Supreme Court had previously directed. The petition was dismissed. The ruling allows the court-appointed special commissioner to move forward with one of three proposals introduced Monday to create a second majority-black congressional district in Alabama.
Black voters remain a strong Democratic constituency in the Yellowhammer state, and the new district will favor Democrats as the two parties vie for control of the House in 2024. Lawsuits challenging Republican-led redistricting efforts are also pending in Georgia, Louisiana and Texas.
The decision comes after a three-judge panel last year decided that the state’s original proposed congressional map, which would have one of the state’s seven congressional districts where 27% of residents are black, would be majority black. This was done after it was rejected by
Judges reject Alabama’s new congressional district map after lawmakers exclude majority-black 2nd District
The commission then issued guidance to include secondary, majority-black districts, or “neighborhoods that are fairly close to it.”
Alabama appealed the case to the Supreme Court, but lost in June when the justices ruled that the lawmakers had diluted the voting power of the state’s black residents.
Alabama Legislature rejects majority-black 2nd Congressional District, increases to 40% after Supreme Court ruling
But instead of following the court’s direction to create a majority-black 2nd District, the state Legislature proposed a plan to increase the percentage of black voters in the 2nd Congressional District from 31% to 40%.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama said earlier this month that it was “extremely disturbed” that the state’s redrawn maps would not follow the guidance and instead recommend redrawing the maps. He said that he had appointed a special judge.
Supreme Court rules in favor of black voters in Alabama racial gerrymandering case
“When a state legislature faces a federal court order saying its election plan unfairly dilutes minority votes and requires a plan to provide additional opportunity districts, it responds with a state-approved plan. We are not aware of any other example of such a case. Please do not provide that district,” the judge wrote. “The law requires the creation of additional electoral districts that give black Alabamians, like all other people, a fair and reasonable opportunity to elect candidates of their choice.”
The state again appealed to the Supreme Court.
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Alabama lost on a 5-4 vote in June, but the state was leaning heavily on hopes of persuading one member of the narrow majority, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, to substantively change the vote. .
The state’s court filing repeatedly cited another opinion Kavanaugh wrote in June, suggesting he might accept the state’s arguments in the right case. Justice Kavanaugh, drawing on a dissenting opinion from Justice Clarence Thomas, argued that even if race-based redistricting is allowed for a limited period of time under the Voting Rights Act, “the authority to implement race-based redistricting is cannot be extended indefinitely into the future.”
Those hopes were dashed by the Supreme Court’s order on Tuesday.
Fox News’ Shannon Bream, Bill Mears and Lawrence Richard and The Associated Press contributed to this report.