From today’s Politico:
A court ordered Alabama’s Legislature to redraw its congressional map to give Black voters more power.
The Legislature’s response? Not unless we have to.
“We are the ‘make me state,’” said Democratic state Rep. Chris England, a member of the redistricting committee. “Throughout our history, we are more than willing to be forced to do the right thing by the courts.”
The GOP-dominated Legislature passed a map on Friday that disregarded a lower federal court’s directive — one reinforced in June by the Supreme Court — that it should include two districts with a Black “voting-age majority or something quite close to it” when it redraws its lines. The legislature, over the unified objections of Democrats, instead came up with a map that falls short of that, with one narrowly Black-majority district and one with a Black voting age population of just under 40 percent, even as Republicans argue they are in adherence.
“I believe this map is an opportunity map and would comply with Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act,” state House Speaker Pro Tempore Chris Pringle, a Republican who co-chaired the Alabama redistricting committee, said of the final map on the floor on Friday. Under questioning from Democratic state Rep. Napoleon Bracy, he said the map would allow “minorities to elect a candidate of their choosing,” and when pushed, added “when you add function on top of that, it could work.”
The final map is bound for a fresh round of litigation that must move quickly ahead of the 2024 election.
Republican-dominated legislatures in the South have looked to circumvent racial gerrymandering provisions in the Voting Rights Act for decades, arguing that they have partisan reasons for drawing their lines that ultimately result in less minority representation across the South. Indeed, if Alabama redraws another Black-majority district, Democrats would likely gain a seat, cutting into House Republicans’ razor-thin majority.
Read the complete story here.