GOP lawmakers in Georgia approved a new map of congressional districts on Thursday that would maintain their party’s current 9-5 seat advantage while creating a court-ordered majority-Black district west of Atlanta.
To maintain their party’s majority advantage, though, the Republican lawmakers dismantled a majority-minority district currently represented by U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath (D).
In October, U.S. District Judge Steve Jones threw out the state’s old congressional map, ruling that it diluted Black voters’ power in violation of the Voting Rights Act’s prohibition against racial discrimination in elections.
While Democrats claim the new map contravenes Jones’ ruling, Republicans have asserted that the new map is in compliance because McBath’s seat, while majority-minority, is not a majority-Black district.
The latest map marks the second time during the redistricting process that the seat currently held by McBath, who has sharply criticized state Republicans as “extremist,” has been singled out.
“I will look to the decision from the judge on these maps in the coming weeks. Regardless, I will not let an extremist portion of the state legislature decide when my time serving the people of Georgia is through. I will come back to Washington,” she said in a statement, alluding to the possibility that the new map could face more challenges in court.
Legal challenges to congressional maps are also ongoing in Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.
In September, an appeals court chose a new Congressional map for Alabama from several ordered submissions after the U.S. Supreme Court twice ruled that its previous map disenfranchised Black voters in that state.
And late last month the New Mexico Supreme Court upheld a congressional district map for that state that was redrawn by Democrats.