Alabama goes to Supreme Court for redistricting

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In court documents, the state told judges the lower court’s order ‘marks a dramatic departure’ from decades of Alabama’s congressional plans and will result in a map ‘that cannot be drawn. than placing race above race-neutral district criteria, sorting and dividing voters across the state solely on the basis of race.”

A panel of three federal judges, including two appointees by former President Donald Trump, ruled the map likely violates Section Two of the Voting Rights Act because it includes only one district where black voters have the opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice. . The second section prohibits discriminatory electoral practices on the basis of race.

The lower court declined to suspend its decision on Thursday evening. The court previously said the Republican-led legislature has until Feb. 7 to draw a new map that includes “either an additional black-majority congressional district or an additional district in which black voters otherwise have the option of voting.” elect a representative of their choice.”

The court also extended the deadline for qualifying congressional candidates originally set for Jan. 28 to Feb. 11 to allow the legislature to enact a corrective plan, but lower court judges have also begun working on a back-up plan to a map drawn by the court if the legislator does not do so within the time limit.

The opinion was delivered by U.S. Circuit Court Judge Stanley Marcus, a Bill Clinton nominee, and District Court Judges Anna M. Manasco and Terry F. Moorer, both Trump appointees.

Deuel Ross, senior attorney at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, representing the challengers, defended the lower court’s decision.

“The court simply applied well-established precedent and relied on the extensive evidence presented at trial to conclude that the congressional maps recently passed by Alabama did not comply with federal law,” he said. he declares.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall has asked the Supreme Court to act now while the appeals process unfolds. He said the legislature was “guided by principles of racial neutrality” and that Congress’ plan “reflected” past plans while making “minor adjustments to accommodate changing demographics.”

Election law expert Rick Hasen said the dispute could shed light on how the High Court could consider similar challenges that are sure to reach judges in the run-up to the next election.

“This is the first redistricting and race case of the new decade to come to the Supreme Court,” Hasen said in a statement. “The case has the potential, but not the certainty, to signal where the Supreme Court stands on issues of racial considerations in redistricting, and the scope and constitutionality of Section 2 of the VRA as applied to the redistricting.”

This story was updated with additional details on Friday.

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