A federal court has rejected Alabama's latest Republican-drawn map of its congressional districts after the US Supreme Court found its previous attempt discriminated against the state's black voters.
A three-judge panel of the US District Court said it was “deeply disturbed” that the state approved a card that it “already admits” fails to meet its obligations under federal law.
“We are not aware of any other instance where a state legislature, faced with a federal court order finding that its electoral plan unlawfully diluted minority votes and requiring a plan that provides a voting district with additional capabilities, has responded with a plan the state admits it does “Do not make this district available,” the judges wrote in a Sept. 5 order.
A landmark decision by the country's highest court Allen against Milligan effectively ordered Alabama's GOP-dominated Alabama state legislature to go back to the drawing board and rewrite the state's congressional district map, noting that the previous map violated the Voting Rights Act.
On this map, most of the state's black residents, who make up more than a quarter of the state's population, were located in a single congressional district out of seven. Instead, Republicans in Alabama maintained the status quo with a map showing only one district where black voters in the state, most of whom vote Democratic, have a chance to choose a likely candidate of their choice.
The 2023 plan calls for a district — currently represented by Democratic US Rep. Terry Sewell — with a voting-age black population of just over 50.6 percent. In the other proposed constituency, the black population of voting age is 39.9 percent.
The rest of the state's black voters are scattered among other counties, severely weakening their voting rights.
“The law requires the creation of an additional district that will provide black Alabamians, like everyone else, with a fair and reasonable opportunity to elect candidates of their choosing,” the judges wrote Sept. 5. “The 2023 plan clearly doesn't make it.”
The order prohibits the state from moving forward with elections under the 2023 plan and orders the appointment of a special agent to create a new map that “contains either an additional majority Black borough or an additional borough where Black voters are otherwise represented.” are.” an opportunity to elect a representative of their choice.”
“Alabama openly admits its intention to defy the law and the US Supreme Court. But we will not give in,” said a joint statement Allen against Milligan plaintiff.
“Sixty years ago, former governor George Wallace stood at the schoolhouse door to prevent blacks from desegregating the University of Alabama. He only moved when the federal government forced him to do so. History repeats itself and the district court's decision confirms that Alabama is once again on the losing side,” they added. “We're demanding that Alabama, once again, get out of the way and obey our laws — we're demanding our right to vote.”
Alabama Republican Secretary of State Wes Allen, named in the case, previously told the court that the state had a relatively tight deadline of October 1 to adequately prepare for the upcoming 2024 primary.