Speed Reads

voting rights

Supreme Court halts lower court's order that Alabama draw new Black-majority congressional district

With a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court on Monday put on hold a lower court's order that Alabama create a second majority-Black congressional district ahead of the 2022 election.

Chief Justice John Roberts and the three liberal members of the court dissented, with Justice Elena Kagan saying this does "a disservice to Black Alabamians who under [Supreme Court] precedent have had their electoral power diminished — in violation of a law this court once knew to buttress all of American democracy." The court will hear arguments on the case at a later date.

Late last month, a panel of three federal judges — including two appointed by former President Donald Trump — threw out a new congressional map drawn by Alabama's GOP-controlled legislature. Alabama has seven congressional districts, and the map only had one district with a majority of Black voters. Over the last 10 years, Alabama's Black population has grown, now making up 27 percent of the state's total population, while the white population has declined. The panel said because of this, the state's map should have two districts with either Black majorities or close to it.

The panel's ruling stated that Black voters "have less opportunity than other Alabamians to elect candidates of their choice to Congress," and challengers would likely be able to show the new map violates the Voting Rights Act. "We find the plaintiffs will suffer an irreparable harm if they must vote in the 2022 congressional elections based on a redistricting plan that violates federal law," the ruling declared.