Supreme Court to take up Alabama racial gerrymandering case
WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The Supreme Court will hear arguments Tuesday regarding whether the Alabama election map is fair to black voters.
Alabama is about 27 percent black, but only one of the state’s seven Congressional districts is competitive for minority candidates.
Several groups, including the ACLU, argue the map is in violation of section two of the Voting Rights Act. The 1965 law bars action that would “prohibit voting practices or procedures that discriminate on the basis of race.”
“We should have at least one majority-minority district, and at least one competitive district,” Alabama ACLU legal director Tish Gotell Faulks said.
Plaintiff Shalela Dowdy said the current map cheats black voters out of equal representation.
“I feel as if black Alabamans are not at the table,” Dowdy said. “We’re on the menu. And we’re on the menu to have our vote diluted.
The Alabama Secretary of State is tasked with defending the map in court. The office said they will not comment on pending legislation. In court filings, the defense argues the Voting Rights Act only covers access to the polls, stating “nothing in this section establishes the right to have members of a protected class elected in numbers equal to their proportion in the population.
State lawmakers have previously argued they cannot make the kind of map civil rights groups are asking for without explicitly making race a defining feature of their election map.
Over the past decades, the court has generally determined maps like Alabama’s to be unconstitutional, but the Supreme Court has become more conservative.
“For us to be standing in 2022, relitigating and fighting for what was won in 1965, to me is abhorrent,” plaintiff Letitia Jackson said.
There is a similar case going through the court system with Louisiana’s election map.
The decision in the Alabama case will likely determine the outcome in Louisiana as well.
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