Posted on November 6, 2023

Judge Says Georgia’s Congressional and Legislative Districts Are Discriminatory and Must Be Redrawn

Jeff Amy and Kate Brumback, Associated Press, October 26, 2023

A federal judge ruled Thursday that some of Georgia’s congressional, state Senate and state House districts were drawn in a racially discriminatory manner, ordering the state to draw an additional Black-majority congressional district.

U.S. District Judge Steve Jones, in a 516-page order, also ordered the state to draw two new Black-majority districts in Georgia’s 56-member state Senate and five new Black-majority districts in its 180-member state House.


Jones’ ruling follows an eight-day September trial in which the plaintiffs argued that Black voters are still fighting opposition from white voters and need federal help to get a fair shot, while the state argued court intervention on behalf of Black voters wasn’t needed.


The Georgia case is part of a wave of litigation after the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year stood behind its interpretation of the Voting Rights Act, rejecting a challenge to the law by Alabama.

Courts in Alabama and Florida ruled recently that Republican-led legislatures had unfairly diluted the voting power of Black residents. Legal challenges to congressional districts are also ongoing in Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.


A new map could shift one of Georgia’s 14 congressional seats from Republican to Democratic control. GOP lawmakers redrew the congressional map from an 8-6 Republican majority to a 9-5 Republican majority in 2021. Jones ruled that lawmakers could not eliminate minority opportunity districts elsewhere when they redraw maps.


The judge wrote that despite the fact that all of the state’s population increase between 2010 and 2020 was attributable to growth among non-white populations, the number of congressional and state Senate districts with a Black majority remained the same.

That echoed a key contention of the plaintiffs, as one of their lawyers noted after the ruling.

“In 2021, the General Assembly ignored Georgia’s diversification over the last decade and enacted a state legislative map that demonstrably diluted the voting strength of Black voters,” Rahul Garabadu, an American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia attorney, said in a statement. {snip}