From today’s ABC News Online:
The U.S. Supreme Court has reinstated Alabama’s new GOP-drawn congressional map over the objection of civil rights groups and decisions of two lower courts finding that it dilutes the influence of Black voters in violation of the Voting Rights Act.
The vote to temporarily stay a lower court order blocking the map was 5-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the court’s three liberals in dissent.
The decision means Alabama will not immediately have to redraw its political lines to include a second majority-Black district, as had been ordered by a District Court judge, allowing the original maps to take effect for midterm elections.
At the same time, the Supreme Court’s majority said it would take up the Alabama redistricting case on the merits later this year.MORE: Michigan’s ‘fairer’ election maps challenged for ‘diluting’ Black vote
Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in a statement concurring with the decision, argued that the court should stay out of the political process so close to an election, insisting the decision makes “no new law regarding the Voting Rights Act” and simply allows time for a full briefing and oral argument. “To reiterate: The Court’s stay order is not a decision on the merits,” he said.
The court’s liberals, however, weren’t buying it.
Justice Elena Kagan, in a pointed dissent, accused her colleagues of going “badly wrong” and forcing “Black Alabamians to suffer what under that law is clear vote dilution.”
“That decision does a disservice to our own appellate processes, which serve both to constrain and to legitimate the Court’s authority. It does a disservice to the District Court, which meticulously applied this Court’s longstanding voting-rights precedent,” Kagan wrote. “And most of all, it does a disservice to Black Alabamians who under that precedent have had their electoral power diminished—in violation of a law this Court once knew to buttress all of American democracy.”
Read the complete story here.