US Supreme Court rules in favor of Black voters in Alabama redistricting case
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Thursday issued a surprising ruling in favor of Black voters in a congressional redistricting case, ordering the creation of a second district with a large Black population.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined with the court’s liberals in affirming a lower-court ruling that found a likely violation of the Voting Rights Act in an Alabama congressional map with one majority Black seat out of seven congressional districts in a state where more than one in four residents is Black.
The case had been closely watched for its potential to weaken the landmark voting rights law.
The court had allowed the challenged map to be used for the 2022 elections and at arguments in October, the justices appeared willing to make it harder to use the voting rights law to challenge redistricting plans as racially discriminatory.
Roberts was part of conservative high-court majorities in earlier cases that made it harder for racial minorities to use the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in ideologically divided rulings in 2013 and 2021.
The other four conservative justices dissented Thursday.
The decision could have larger implications in other states including Louisiana, where a controversial congressional map was vetoed by the governor last year due to its low representation for Black voters. Lawmakers in Louisiana ultimately garnered enough support at the Capitol to override the governor's veto and force it through.
Governor Edwards released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court decision Thursday.
“As I said when I vetoed it, Louisiana's current congressional map violates the Voting Rights Act. Louisiana’s voting population is one-third Black. We know that in compliance with the principles of the Voting Rights Act, Louisiana can and should have a congressional map where two of our six districts are majority Black. Today's decision reaffirms that.”
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