The Supreme Court has denied Alabama’s request to reinstate a congressional map drawn by Republican lawmakers that only had one majority-Black district. A three-judge panel had previously struck down Alabama’s proposed map, finding that the state had disregarded the directive to create a second majority-Black district. This decision paves the way for a new map to be put in place before the 2024 election under the supervision of a special master and court-appointed cartographer.
The outcome of this dispute could have a significant impact on the balance of power in the House of Representatives, where Republicans currently hold a narrow majority. Lawmakers in Washington and other states with similar battles are closely watching the trajectory of this case. In a surprising decision in June, the Supreme Court ruled that Alabama had disadvantaged Black voters when drawing its voting map, reaffirming part of a landmark civil rights law. The state legislature attempted to address this by drawing a new map that changed district boundaries but did not create an additional majority-Black district, leading to further legal challenges.
The federal three-judge panel overseeing the case found that Alabama’s legislature likely violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by failing to create an additional district that would give Black Alabamians a fair and reasonable chance to elect candidates of their choice. Alabama’s attorney general argued that the new map complied with the law, but the plaintiffs, including Black voters and advocacy organizations, urged the Supreme Court to reject the state’s request and highlighted Alabama’s attempts to defy court rulings. They criticized the legislature for drawing the map in secret without public comment and disregarding alternative plans supported by Black Alabamians.