Alabama asks Supreme Court to step in again in redistricting case

September 12, 2023

Alabama on Monday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to step in again and let it keep its latest redrawn Congressional lines after a lower court tossed its new map. 

Alabama has already lost once in the Supreme Court. In a 5-4 ruling in June, the Justices struck down a previous version of Alabama’s Congressional map, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, both conservatives, joining the Court’s three liberal Justices in the majority.

Afterward, the state redrew its map without including the two mandated majority Black voter Congressional districts. The new map was struck down by a three-judge panel on the U.S. District Court of Northern Alabama on September 5.

In their court order the Alabama judges stated that they were “deeply troubled that the State enacted a map that the State readily admits does not provide the remedy we said federal law requires.”

Even though more than one-fourth of the state’s population is Black, the way the district lines were drawn minority voters would only have a realistic chance of electing the candidate of their choice in one of Alabama’s seven Congressional districts. The Supreme Court had sided with the district court’s earlier ruling that said Alabama should have created two compact Congressional districts with a majority or close to a majority of Black voters, not one.

In Monday’s request to the Supreme Court, the Alabama Attorney General’s office asked the Justices to put the order on hold while the state appeals, “so that millions of Alabama voters are not soon districted into that court-ordered racial gerrymander.”

The district court judges in their September 5 order assigned court-appointed experts to draw three different proposed maps, all of which will include two districts where Black voters have a realistic opportunity to elect their preferred candidates. The proposed maps must be submitted to the court by September 25, and a hearing on arguments for and against the proposals will take place October 3.

Alabama is facing a looming deadline ahead of next year’s elections. The state’s Secretary of State Wes Allen (R) has told the judges that finalizing a redistricting plan by October 1 “would provide enough time to reassign voters, print and distribute ballots, and otherwise conduct the forthcoming 2024 primary elections based on the new map.”

Meanwhile, a court trial about the map Alabama wants to use for its 2026 elections is still looming. 

Read more exclusive news from Political IQ.

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