The Supreme Court on Monday stayed a lower court’s decision that Alabama must attract new congressional districts before the 2022 elections to increase black voting power. The High Court order has boosted Republican chances to hold on to six of the state’s seven seats in the House of Representatives.
The court action, by a 5–4 vote, meant that the upcoming election would be held under a map drawn by Alabama’s Republican-controlled legislature, which includes a majority-Black district, represented by a Black Democrat. In a state where more than a quarter of the population is black.
A three-judge lower court, including two judges appointed by former President Donald Trump, ruled that the state had violated the federal Voting Rights Act by curtailing the political power of black voters by not creating a second district, in which they created. majority, or close to it.
Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Samuel Alito, part of the conservative majority, said the lower court acted too close to the 2022 election cycle.
Chief Justice John Roberts joined three of his more liberal aides in the disagreement.
Justice Elena Kagan wrote in dissent, adding that at some later date, judges will decide whether the state-made map violates the historic voting rights law, a case that “decades after this Court’s precedent regarding Section 2 of the VRA”. ” may question.
The decision will likely control the decade-end elections in Alabama in 2024 and could also affect minority political representation elsewhere in the country.
Alabama lawmakers redraw the state’s congressional districts following the results of the 2020 census. Several groups of voters sued, arguing that the new maps reduced the voting power of black residents.
In a unanimous decision in late January, three judges said the groups were likely to be successful in showing that the state violated the Voting Rights Act. As a result, the panel ordered lawmakers to redraw the districts so that black voters were in a majority, or close to it, in two districts, not one. This decision was of more than 200 pages.
The panel wrote that “we do not consider the question to be close…”
Alabama appealed to the Supreme Court, asking for the decision to be stayed, and the judges agreed. The state argued that it drew a new map guided by race-neutral principles and that the new map is identical to the previous maps.
More than a dozen mostly Republican-led states urged justice to Alabama and allowed it to use the maps originally created.
Lawyer Duel Ross, for the Alabamians who sued, called the state’s congressional districts “a textbook case of Voting Rights Act violations” and said the high court’s decision to intervene was disappointing.
The facts are clear, Ross, an attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, wrote in an email to the Associated Press. “The current Congressional map of Alabama violates the Voting Rights Act,” he said. “The litigation will continue, and we are confident that Black Alabamians will eventually have the Congressional map they deserve — one that fairly represents all voters.”
Roberts, who generally votes against the idea of race, wrote that he shares some of Alabama’s concerns, but will still let the 2022 election control the redrawn districts and future elections. will be governed by the final outcome in the matter.
Kavanaugh wrote to explain his vote, emphasizing that the court has repeatedly refused in the past to change the rules closer to the election.
“When an election is at hand, the rules of the road must be clear and orderly. Late judicial tinkering with election laws can lead to disruption and unexpected and unfair consequences for candidates, political parties and voters. It is. It’s another thing for a state to flout and redo a state’s election laws in the period close to an election in itself. In one opinion it was written that Alito joined.
Taking issue with Kavanaugh, Kagan said the lower court had ruled months ago that any vote would be cast.
He criticized conservatives for using the emergency application process known as the shadow docket to “signal or change the law, without full briefing and reasoning”.