After months of legal wrangling, a federal court Thursday selected Alabama’s newest Congressional map, which includes a mandated second Black-majority district.
The new map was selected after a September order by a panel of federal judges that assigned court-appointed experts to draw three different proposed Alabama maps, all of which would include two districts where Black voters had a realistic opportunity to elect their preferred candidates. A hearing on arguments for and against the proposed maps took earlier this week.
That was after the Supreme Court handed down a second defeat in three months against the Republican-led Alabama state officials, rejecting their latest attempt to submit a Congressional map with only one majority-Black district.
In a 5-4 ruling in June, the Justices had already struck down a previous version of the state’s Congressional map, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, both conservatives, joining the Court’s three liberal Justices.
Even though more than one-fourth of the state’s population is Black, the way the district lines were initially drawn, minority voters only had 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.
After the Supreme Court’s ruling, the state redrew its map again without including the two court-required 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.”
The new map released Thursday reportedly swings Alabama District 02 (lower right in pink on map), now populated by a majority of Black eligible voters, from a previous 29-point lead for former President Trump to a 12-point lead for President Biden.
In the 2020 Presidential election, Trump won the entire state over Biden 62% to 36.6%.