Supreme Court Rejects Alabama’s Attempt to Avoid Creating a Second Black Majority Congressional District
Ariane de Vogue and Fredreka Schouten, CNN, September 26, 2023
The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an emergency bid from Alabama, setting the stage for a new congressional map likely to include a second Black majority district to account for the state’s 27% Black population.
The one-line order reflects that the feelings on the court haven’t changed since June when a 5-4 Supreme Court affirmed a lower court that had ordered the state to redraw its seven-seat congressional map to include a second majority-Black district or “something quite close to it.”
There were no noted dissents.
The justices’ action will have immediate consequences in Alabama and perhaps nationwide in the 2024 elections. There are currently six Republicans and one Democratic member of Congress from Alabama, but the changing makeup of the districts is likely to mean the state will pick up a new Democratic member of Congress.
The case has been closely watched because after the court’s June ruling, Alabama GOP lawmakers again approved a congressional map with only one majority-Black district, seemingly flouting the Supreme Court’s decision that they provide more political representation for the state’s Black residents.
Alabama raced to the Supreme Court and asked the court to freeze the lower-court ruling, arguing that its 2023 map passed legal muster even if it didn’t include a second majority-Black district.
Alabama’s Attorney General Steve Marshall, a Republican, argued that the new map kept communities of interest intact, unifying the so-called Black Belt of the state.
“The court gutted the State’s discretion to apply traditional redistricting principles in 2023, by expressly refusing to defer to them when they didn’t yield the ‘right’ racial results,” Marshall said.