UNITED STATES NEWS

After court ruling, Alabama GOP criticized for rejecting 2nd majority-Black congressional district

Jul 18, 2023, 2:04 PM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Republicans on Tuesday advanced proposals to boost the number of Black voters in one of the state’s seven congressional districts, but critics said the plans flout a court order to create a second majority-Black district or something close to it.

Lawmakers must adopt new maps by Friday after the U.S. Supreme Court in June upheld a finding that the current state map — with one majority-Black district in a state that is 27% Black — likely violated the federal Voting Rights Act.

Republican-controlled legislative committees on Tuesday voted down proposals to create a second majority-Black district and advanced separate GOP plans that would increase the percentage of Black voters in the 2nd Congressional district from about 30% to either 38% or 42% That is short of the 50% sought by plaintiffs who won the Supreme Court case.

Republicans said their plan complies with the court’s directive to draw a district where Black voters are present in enough numbers to influence the outcome of an election.

“They told us draw a map with either an additional majority-minority district or a district that allows Black voters otherwise to elect the representative of their choice. I believe (this) map that you have before you best addresses the issues before the court,” Republican Rep. Chris Pringle told the House committee.

Pringle said the district, which would have a Black voting age population of 42% under his bill, would be a swing district that could be won by either a Republican or a Democrat.

Senators advanced an amended map where the Black voting age population would be 38% instead of 42% in the 2nd district.

Sen. Vivian Davis Figures, a Democratic lawmaker from Mobile, said the Senate proposal is “no where close” to what was suggested by the court. She said the district would remain under white Republican control with those numbers.

“We don’t think this is going to pass muster with the court,” Figures said. She said the Republicans are headed down a path that will ensure extended litigation, “continuing to spend millions of dollars of taxpayer money just so they don’t give all of Alabama’s citizens a seat at the table for their voices to be heard.”

Republicans have been resistant to creating a Democratic-leaning district and are wagering on what the three-judge panel will accept — or that the state will be successful in a second round of appeals. The three-judge panel could step in and draw its own plan if the judge’s deem lawmakers’ proposal unacceptable.

The three-judge panel found that Alabama’s existing congressional map diluted the voting power of Black residents.

“The appropriate remedy is a congressional redistricting plan that includes either an additional majority-Black congressional district, or an additional district in which Black voters otherwise have an opportunity to elect a representative of their choice,” the lower-court panel wrote in its 2022 ruling. It added that the plan would need to include two districts in which “Black voters either comprise a voting-age majority or something quite close to it.”

Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Reed, the Republican leader of the Senate, said lawyers have advised that the Senate plan complies with court order, although “there’s going to be certainly more debate.” He added that those drafting the plan are trying to weigh what is important to the court.

“Are you really wanting us to focus on community of interest issues, which they stated in the order? Or are we looking at voting populations? Which one is more important?” Reed said.

The proposals head to their first floor votes on Tuesday. The three-judge panel that blocked the use of the current map gave Alabama until Friday to submit a new plan for review.

Rep. Barbara Boyd, a Democratic lawmaker from Anniston, said Alabama has a long history of “refusing to do the right thing.”

“Don’t continue to allow the courts to have to force us to do what we know is right,” Boyd told her colleagues on the House committee.

United States News

Associated Press

3 Columbia University administrators put on leave over alleged text exchange at antisemitism panel

NEW YORK (AP) — Columbia University said it has placed three administrators on leave while it investigates allegations that they exchanged unprofessional text messages while attending a panel discussion about antisemitism on campus. The university said the administrators work for its undergraduate Columbia College, which hosted the panel discussion “Jewish Life on Campus: Past, Present […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Man charged in shooting that critically wounded Philadelphia officer, police say

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A 36-year-old Philadelphia man was charged Sunday with attempted murder in connection with a shooting that critically wounded a police officer after a traffic stop, police said. Ramon Rodriguez Vazquez also faces charges that include aggravated assault and home invasion, police said. The 31-year-old officer and his partner stopped a car carrying […]

8 hours ago

Associated Press

California boy, 4, who disappeared from campground found safe after 22 hours alone in wilderness

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A 4-year-old California boy who wandered away from a campground in the Sierra National Forest was found safe after spending 22 hours alone in the wilderness, authorities said. A search-and-rescue team of about 50 officers and volunteers set out around 11 a.m. Thursday after the child was reported missing from the […]

9 hours ago

Associated Press

One man died and five others were hospitalized in downtown St. Louis shooting

ST. LOUIS (AP) — One man is dead and five others have been wounded in a downtown St. Louis shooting, police said. Police believe women were fighting in a park when men interfered and drew firearms, according to social media posts from the agency. The man who died was in his mid-twenties, police said. Five […]

9 hours ago

Associated Press

Michigan sheriff’s deputy fatally shot pursuing a stolen vehicle in Detroit

DETROIT (AP) — A Michigan county sheriff’s deputy was fatally shot while pursing a suspected stolen vehicle in Detroit, the Oakland County sheriff’s office said Sunday. Bradley J. Reckling, who was on duty in an unmarked car, was following a 2022 Chevy Equinox Saturday evening after the vehicle was reported stolen earlier in the day […]

10 hours ago

Associated Press

Triple-shooting suspect captured after intensive search across Colorado farmland

ALAMOSA, Colorado (AP) — The suspect in a shooting that left one person dead and two others with critical injuries was captured Sunday following an intensive search across a huge area of southern Colorado. Officers went door to door as aircraft searched overhead for Henry Corral, 44, who authorities said had taken off on foot […]

10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinic visits boost student training & community health

Going to a Midwestern University Clinic can help make you feel good in more ways than one.

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

After court ruling, Alabama GOP criticized for rejecting 2nd majority-Black congressional district