The Supreme Court shocked the nation on Thursday and ruled that Alabama discriminated against black voters during its redistricting process last year.
The stunning ruling in the case Allen v. Milligan means that Alabama will have to redraw its congressional map to include a second majority-black district. The 5-4 decision was written by Chief Justice John Roberts and saw Justice Brett Kavanaugh join with the three liberals on the court.
The opinion does not “diminish or disregard the concern” that the Voting Rights Act “may impermissibly elevate race in the allocation of political power within the States,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority.
“Instead, the Court simply holds that a faithful application of precedent and a fair reading of the record do not bear those concerns out here.”
The opinion was shocking because on two previous occasions, the conservative court acted to gut provisions of the Voting Rights Act.
According to NPR:
At issue was Alabama’s congressional redistricting plan, adopted by the Republican dominated state legislature after the 2020 census.
Twenty seven percent, more than a quarter of the state’s population, is African American, but because of the way the congressional district lines are drawn, minority voters have a realistic chance of electing the candidate of their choice in only one out of the state’s seven districts.
In January of 2022, a three-judge district court that included two Trump appointees ruled unanimously that under the Voting Rights Act, Alabama should have created not just one, but two compact congressional districts with a majority or close to a majority of black voters.
The three-judge panel said that Alabama had engaged in a classic case of vote dilution by packing black voters into a single district and spreading the remaining minority voters out over other districts, thus ensuring they had little political power.
The state appealed to the Supreme Court.
Reuters: U.S. SUPREME COURT RULES AGAINST ALABAMA'S DEFENSE OF REPUBLICAN-DRAWN ELECTORAL MAP CHALLENGED BY BLACK VOTERS AS RACIALLY DISCRIMINATORY
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 8, 2023
Big news via @lawrencehurley: SCOTUS struck down GOP-drawn congressional districts in Alabama that activists say discriminated against Black voters.
John Roberts & Brett Kavanaugh joined the court's three liberals in the majority.https://t.co/GHsiEJe2rA
— Daniel Arkin (@d_arkin) June 8, 2023
Today’s Alabama ruling by SCOTUS will also impact Louisiana where a federal district court also ordered the congressional map redrawn to create a second Black district. That ruling was put on hold by SCOTUS. 3/ https://t.co/8AOWrcKPv3
— Michael Li 李之樸 (@mcpli) June 8, 2023