Alabama Redistricting Legal Saga Continues Amidst Claims of Discrimination

The Alabama redistricting legal saga continues as Republican lawmakers have filed an appeal to the Supreme Court to permit the state to use its controversial congressional map in the upcoming elections, despite claims and rulings stating its violation of the Voting Rights Act.

April Albright, legal director of Black Voters Matter, told theGrio, “GOP Republicans have never been an ally of Black voters in Alabama.” Highlighting a longstanding issue, she added, “They’ve been able to maintain a position where they could ignore the rights of Black voters in Alabama.” This recent development, according to Albright, is just a continuation of the state GOP’s “continued bad behavior.”

The legal struggle began in earnest in June when the Supreme Court ordered Alabama to redraw its congressional map. This decision was in agreement with a lower court ruling, asserting the current map’s violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The state was instructed to formulate a second district with a Black majority or close to one.

Despite these directives, the Republican-controlled Legislature’s newly proposed map was also rejected by federal judges earlier this month. A three-judge panel mentioned the possible appointment of a special master to devise new districts, aimed at bolstering Black voting power in the state. However, in the latest appeal, Republicans are building a case to use the discriminatory map and prevent this potential rectification.

Albright, voicing her concerns to theGrio, said she did not believe Alabama lawmakers would comply effectively after they defied the court order for a second Black district. “The GOP went back to the drawing board, which we all were concerned about,” she remarked. Albright’s skepticism about the lawmakers’ intention is evident: “We had no confidence that they were going to go back and do the right thing.”

She further emphasized the Republicans’ desire to retain power and control in Alabama: “They just want to maintain power and control in the state.” Albright suggested that this move is aligned with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s ambition to ensure the Republican majority in Congress.

Despite the evident path to creating a compliant map, the reluctance is clear. Albright noted to theGrio, “It’s not difficult for them to draw a map that is compliant with both the district court and Supreme Court order. But they don’t want to do it because it means that they have to potentially are at risk of losing their majority status in D.C.”

The issue highlights the historical context of suppressing the Black vote, ensuring their voices and concerns, especially around policies like policing or reproductive rights, do not gain traction against the “GOP’s agenda,” Albright observed. She concluded with a clear message about the Republicans’ intent, “They don’t want to have other voices that can determine the distribution of resources in the state and in this country.”

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