Alabama’s redrawing of its congressional map defies the US Supreme Court

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The conservative-dominated US Supreme Court came as a formal surprise Ordered to Alabama The conservative-dominated state last month redrew its congressional map to include a second majority-black congressional district or something. near it.

Perhaps surprisingly, Alabama said no.

Instead of simply complying with the order of the Supreme Court Alan V. The Milligan caseLegislature of Alabama Congress redrew the map Rep. Terry Sewell’s Democratic Party has reduced black voting-age participation from about 55%. Still 50% was later increased to a second district The black population percentage is about 40%.

The new map, approved by Alabama’s legislature and governor, will go to the federal courts for review in August, so this story is far from over.

That would link to fights over congressional maps in other states. Especially New YorkIn such a way that the control of the council is very much at stake.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, appeared to defend the legislature’s intransigence in the face of orders from federal courts. It approved the new map on Friday.

“The Legislature knows our state, our people and our districts better than the federal courts or activist groups,” he said in a statement.

CNN’s Dianne Gallagher noted in her report that the old congressional map was invalidated by a three-judge federal district court panel that included two judges nominated by former President Donald Trump.

They concluded that the plan by which Alabamians chose their congressional representatives in 2022 may have violated the Voting Rights Act because black voters were “less likely than other Alabamians to elect candidates of their choice to Congress.”

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Ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Alabama’s map, which helped Republicans win the four-seat majority they currently hold.

Gallagher and CNN’s Tierney Snead Wrote last month Allen v. The Milliken decision could have ramifications for other states and restart a series of lawsuits in several states.

Janay Nelson, president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, described the new map to CNN’s Dana Bash on Monday as “a complete violation of the Supreme Court’s order.”

“At this time, it is the responsibility of our federal courts to protect black voters and protect their own power,” he later added.

The background here is that Alabama’s population is about 27% black, but the state’s black population is concentrated in several counties that are largely African American—known as the state’s Black Belt, though named for the area’s fertile soil. Black Belt voters, many of whom are black, have a vested interest in representation in Congress, according to the Supreme Court decision.

Coincidentally, earlier this year, President Joe Biden Named Alabama’s Black BeltA National Heritage Site, site of many key moments of the Civil Rights Movement.

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For Nelson, since black Alabamians represent one-fourth of the state’s population, the math dictates that they should receive representation from one of the seven legislators who represent Alabama in Congress.

But since Alabama has historically and currently been marked by polarized voting conditions, the problem is bigger than simple math.

“It’s the mandate of the civil rights laws to make sure that there’s fairness in our systems, to make sure that black voters and other historically present voters. Those who are discriminated against have the opportunity to have representatives who speak for their interests and voice their concerns,” he said.

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Alabama asked the Supreme Court to strike down Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which many court watchers thought was a prime move to enforce the conservative majority.

But Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanagh sided with liberals on the court to throw out the Alabama map.

The Supreme Court also rejected the notion that the Gulf Coast region represented a community of interest comparable to the Black Belt. The new map, according to the state attorney general’s office, tries to keep the Gulf Coast community together in one district.

In a statement, the attorney general’s office argued that the new map is fair and complies with the principles of the Voting Rights Act and seeks to unify black belt districts.

Another is politics The story here, like most congressional districts across the country, is not the same In the districts where Alabamians voted 2022 mid-term elections It was also relatively competitive. Sewell, a Democrat, was the only winning candidate to get two-thirds of the vote. He still got more than 63% of the Democrats.

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