Thu. Feb 22nd, 2024

From today’s NPR News:

The state of Alabama is taking an unusual legal position as it heads into a closely watched court hearing this week about its congressional voting districts.

In June, Alabama lost at the U.S. Supreme Court. A majority of justices upheld a lower court’s ruling that found the congressional map the state used in last year’s midterm elections likely violated the landmark Voting Rights Act by diluting the power of Black voters.

The remedy the three-judge panel ordered was a new map with two districts where Black voters have a realistic opportunity of electing their preferred candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives. Because of how racially polarized voting is in Alabama, the panel said in each of those two districts, Black Alabamians will need to make up the majority of the voting-age population or “something quite close to it.”

But there is only one majority-Black district in the new redistricting plan passed by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature last month. In another district, Black Alabamians make up 39.9% of the voting-age population — a share that, the map’s challengers say, does not meet the court’s requirements.

And for this week’s court hearing before the panel, Alabama says it’s not planning to put up a fight on those specific points.

After signing the contested map into law in July, Republican Gov. Kay Ivey issued a statement saying, “The Legislature knows our state, our people and our districts better than the federal courts or activist groups.”

The moves are raising questions about whether the state intends to follow federal court orders and how much longer this redistricting lawsuit will be dragged out with next year’s elections looming. The ultimate map used by Alabama — where majority-Black districts are likely to elect Democrats and majority-white districts are likely to elect Republicans — could help determine which major party wins the U.S. House.

Read the complete story here.

By Editor