Judges Express Doubt That Alabama’s New Maps Are Less Gerrymandered Than Before

Attorneys representing Black voters within the state predict federal courts will finally must redraw the maps.

On Monday, federal judges reviewing Alabama Republican lawmakers’ court-mandated redrawing of racially gerrymandered congressional districts earlier this summer time expressed deep skepticism towards arguments the state made defending the proposed new maps, noting that it appeared as if the lawmakers selected to defy the court docket order altogether fairly than abide by it.

Earlier this 12 months, the state’s congressional districts had been decided to be gerrymandered in a manner that considerably diluted the voting energy of Black voters, who make up 27 p.c of Alabama’s complete inhabitants. A federal choose dominated that the state needed to redraw its districts to create two of them that might comprise a majority of Black voters, “or one thing near it,” as a way to adjust to the Voting Rights Act.

In a shock ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court docket upheld that discovering, sending the matter again to the Alabama state legislature and implementing the decrease court docket’s order. Regardless of that, nevertheless, the Republican-controlled legislature handed maps that also solely created one district the place Black voters had been the bulk.

In a listening to on Monday earlier than three federal judges in Birmingham, legal professionals for the state continued to make the already-rejected argument that they didn’t have to stick to requirements established within the Voting Rights Act. The judges, who appeared frustrated with the state lawyers’ claims, needed to remind them that it wouldn’t be relitigating the matter.

Banner 3

“What I hear you saying is the state of Alabama intentionally disregarded our instruction,” Decide Terry Moorer mentioned at one level in the course of the continuing.

Despite the judges’ collective skepticism, legal professionals for Alabama maintained that the brand new maps had been as “close as you can get” to making a second district with a majority of Black voters “with out violating the Structure.” Adhering strictly to the earlier court docket order, they tried to recommend, can be a racial gerrymander in itself.

Attorneys for Black voters within the state rejected that line of considering.

Abha Khanna, an lawyer representing voters within the state who mentioned the maps had been a racial gerrymander, said Alabama lawmakers chose “defiance over compliance” with the brand new maps they redrew.

The state legislature selected to “thumb its nostril at this court docket and to thumb its nostril on the nation’s highest court docket and to thumb its nostril at its personal Black residents,” Khanna added.

Deuel Ross, one other lawyer representing Alabama’s Black voters within the case, mentioned the judges’ questions towards the state’s legal professionals indicated that the court docket itself will doubtless must redraw the maps for the state.

“Our expectation is that the trial court docket will strike down the brand new map, and that if Alabama appeals to the Supreme Court docket … the Supreme Court docket could have the identical end result that it had only a couple months in the past,” Ross said after the hearing on Monday.

Ross harangued the state’s Republican lawmakers for refusing to observe what the Supreme Court docket had instructed them to do.

“The legislation was actually clear about what the difficulty is right here,” Ross added.” Did Alabama draw a brand new alternative district because the court docket required them to do? The reply is they didn’t.”

Bored with studying the identical outdated information from the identical outdated sources?

So are we! That’s why we’re on a mission to shake issues up and convey you the tales and views that always go untold in mainstream media. However being a radically, unapologetically unbiased information website isn’t simple (or low-cost), and we depend on reader help to maintain the lights on.

In the event you like what you’re studying, please contemplate making a tax-deductible donation in the present day. We’re not asking for a handout, we’re asking for an funding: Spend money on a nonprofit information website that’s not afraid to ruffle just a few feathers, not afraid to face up for what’s proper, and never afraid to inform it like it’s.