Georgia to redraw Congressional map following federal judge’s order

October 27, 2023

Georgia state legislators planned to hold a special session next month to redraw several Congressional districts after U.S. District Judge Steve Jones said its map currently violates the Voting Rights Act.

In a 516-page order, Judge Jones on Thursday ruled that the Georgia lawmakers must draw one new Black-majority U.S. House district, two new Black-majority districts in the state’s 56-member state Senate and five new Black-majority districts in its 180-member state House.

The state legislature and Gov. Brian Kemp (R) have until December 8 to submit a satisfactory map—or the judge will have one drawn for them. 

The ruling follows a similar case in Alabama. This past September the U.S. Supreme Court shot down for a second time Alabama Republican lawmakers’ attempts to draw maps that marginalized that state’s Black voters. A panel of Alabama District Court judges earlier this month chose a new map—with two, rather than one, Black-majority Congressional districts—from among three drawings submitted by court-appointed experts.

Meanwhile in North Carolina, Republican state lawmakers approved a new Congressional map Wednesday that could potentially flip multiple U.S. House seats in their party’s favor after that state’s Supreme Court found that that claims of partisan gerrymandering were political questions that cannot be resolved by the courts.

Georgia’s Gov. Kemp issued a call hours after Judge Jones’ ruling for a special legislative session to begin November 29—though a spokesperson said the call did not mean the governor opposes appealing Jones’ decision.

The ruling to redraw Georgia’s map follows an eight-day civil trial in September in which plaintiffs argued that Black voters continue to fight opposition from white voters and need help getting fair representation. The state argued that court intervention on behalf of Black voters wasn’t necessary.

PHOTO: Georgia’s Congressional map since 2021

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