Plaintiffs in voting rights case urge judges to toss Alabama’s new congressional map

Jul 30, 2023, 9:57 AM

A map of a GOP proposal to redraw Alabama's congressional districts is displayed at the Alabama Sta...

A map of a GOP proposal to redraw Alabama's congressional districts is displayed at the Alabama Statehouse in Montgomery, Ala., Tuesday, July 18, 2023. Alabama lawmakers are meeting in special session to draw new congressional districts after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a ruling blocking the current map. (AP Photo/Kim Chandler)

(AP Photo/Kim Chandler)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Voting rights activists are returning to court to fight Alabama’s redrawn congressional districts, saying state Republicans failed to follow federal court orders to create a district that is fair to Black voters.

Plaintiffs in the high-profile redistricting case filed a written objection Friday to oppose Alabama’s new redistricting plan. They accused state Republicans of flouting a judicial mandate to create a second majority-Black district or “something quite close to it” and enacting a map that continues to discriminate against Black voters in the state.

A special three-judge panel in 2022 blocked use of the the state’s existing districts and said any new congressional map should include two districts where “Black voters either comprise a voting-age majority” or something close. That panel’s decision was appealed by the state but upheld in June in a surprise ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, which concurred that having only one Black-majority district out of seven — in a state where more than one in four residents is Black — likely violated federal law.

The plaintiffs in the case, represented by the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund and other groups, asked the three-judge panel to step in and draw new lines for the state.

“Alabama’s new congressional map ignores this court’s preliminary injunction order and instead perpetuates the Voting Rights Act violation that was the very reason that the Legislature redrew the map,” lawyers representing the plaintiffs in the case wrote.

The new map enacted by the Republican-controlled Alabama Legislature maintained one-majority Black district but boosted the percentage of Black voters in the majority-white 2nd Congressional District, now represented by Republican Rep. Barry Moore, from about 30% to 39.9%

Lawyers representing plaintiffs in the case wrote Friday that the revamped district “does not provide Black voters a realistic opportunity to elect their preferred candidates in any but the most extreme situations.” They accused state Republicans of ignoring the courts’ directive to prioritize a district that would stay under GOP control “pleasing national leaders whose objective is to maintain the Republican Party’s slim majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.”

Alabama has maintained the new plan complies with the Voting Rights Act, and state leaders are wagering that the panel will accept their proposal or that the state will prevail in a second round of appeals to the Supreme Court. Republicans argued that the map meets the court’s directive and draws compact districts that comply with redistricting guidelines.

The state must file its defense of the map by Aug. 4. The three judges have scheduled an Aug. 14 hearing in the case as the fight over the map shifts back to federal court.

The outcome could have consequences across the country as the case again weighs the requirements of the Voting Rights Act in redistricting. It could also impact the partisan leanings of one Alabama congressional district in the 2024 elections with control of the U.S House of Representatives at stake.

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, said in a statement that Alabama’s new map is a “brazen defiance” of the courts.

“The result is a shameful display that would have made George Wallace—another Alabama governor who defied the courts—proud,” Holder said in a statement.

United States News

Arizona Reps. Andy Biggs, left, and Eli Crane are seen together in a file photo. They were among fi...

Alexandria Cullen and Adrienne Washington/Cronkite News

Arizona Reps. Biggs, Crane vote to block defense bill as shutdown looms

Two Arizona lawmakers were among five GOP House members who broke ranks Thursday and voted to block the defense authorization bill.

2 hours ago

FILE - The sun sets beyond the downtown skyline of Kansas City, Mo., as the autumnal equinox marks ...

Associated Press

The fall equinox is here. What does that mean?

NEW YORK (AP) — Fall is in the air — officially. The equinox arrives on Saturday, marking the start of the fall season for the Northern Hemisphere. But what does that actually mean? Here’s what to know about how we split up the year using the Earth’s orbit. WHAT IS THE EQUINOX? As the Earth […]

2 hours ago

FILE - Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., arrives for a vote on Capitol Hill, Sept. 6, 2023 in Washington. ...

Associated Press

New Jersey Sen. Menendez and his wife are indicted on bribery charges

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey and his wife have been indicted on charges of bribery. Federal prosecutors on Friday announced the charges against the 69-year-old Democrat nearly six years after an earlier criminal case against him ended with a deadlocked jury. The latest indictment is unrelated to the earlier charges […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Authorities search for suspect wanted in killing who was mistakenly released from Indianapolis jail

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A man wanted for a 2021 killing in Minnesota was mistakenly released from jail in Indianapolis last week and authorities are now offering a reward of up to $10,000 as they continue searching for him. Kevin Mason, 28, was arrested in Indianapolis on Sept. 11 but a preliminary review found he was […]

2 hours ago

FILE - Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, left, shakes hands with Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng duri...

Associated Press

United States and China launch economic and financial working groups with aim of easing tensions

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Treasury Department and China’s Ministry of Finance launched a pair of economic working groups on Friday in an effort to ease tensions and deepen ties between the nations. Led by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Vice Premier He Lifeng, the working groups will be divided into economic and financial segments. […]

4 hours ago

Deb Libby, who poses in Worcester, Mass., on Aug. 21, 2023, has been on the state waitlist for publ...

Associated Press

Massachusetts has a huge waitlist for state-funded housing. So why are 2,300 units vacant?

Deb Libby is running out of time to find a place to live. Libby, 56, moved to Worcester, Massachusetts, four years ago, in part to be closer to the doctors treating her for pancreatic cancer. But the landlord wants her out by the end of the month and she can’t find anything else she can […]

6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Home moving relocation in Arizona 2023...

BMS Moving

Tips for making your move in Arizona easier

If you're moving to a new home in Arizona, use this to-do list to alleviate some stress and ensure a smoother transition to your new home.


Ignite Digital

How to unlock the power of digital marketing for Phoenix businesses

All businesses around the Valley hopes to maximize their ROI with current customers and secure a greater market share in the digital sphere.


OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center

5 mental health myths you didn’t know were made up

Helping individuals understand mental health diagnoses like obsessive compulsive spectrum disorder or generalized anxiety disorder isn’t always an easy undertaking. After all, our society tends to spread misconceptions about mental health like wildfire. This is why being mindful about how we talk about mental health is so important. We can either perpetuate misinformation about already […]

Plaintiffs in voting rights case urge judges to toss Alabama’s new congressional map