The U.S. Supreme Court has blocked a lower court’s decision over the creation of a second majority-Black voting Congressional District in Alabama.
The Supreme Court ordered a stay Monday following the state’s emergency appeal challenging the unanimous Jan. 24 decision of a lower court that the Congressional maps approved by the Alabama legislature violated the Voting Rights Act. The lower court had ruled that the state’s population demographics required the creation of a second minority district to be used in the 2022 election cycle.
The Supreme Court, however, ruled in favor of the state’s argument that – because of the close proximity of the primary election, which is just seven weeks away, combined with filing deadlines for candidates – state and local officials would need more time to plan for the 2022 election.
The state also argued, according to court documents, that the court order to redraw the maps should not apply to the 2022 election cycle.
The 5-4 ruling temporarily blocks the district court’s ruling that new maps be drawn.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said he was “gratified” the higher court “stepped in to halt the district court’s order.” He said the new Congressional map would have “unconstitutionally divided Alabamians based on race.”
“As we have explained throughout this litigation, Alabama’s 2021 plan is an ordinary plan that looks much like the plan approved by a federal court in 1992, the plan approved by a majority-Democratic legislature in 2001, and the plan approved by a majority-Republican legislature in 2011,” Marshall said in a statement on his website. “Plaintiffs demand a significant overhaul to the map to create a second majority-black district, but their own experts showed that no such map could be drawn unless traditional race-neutral principles took a back seat to voters’ race.”
Deuel Ross, senior council for the plaintiffs, told the ACLU of Alabama the decision to intervene was disheartening.
He said the current map violates the Voting Rights Act, and “litigation will continue.” He said he was confident that “Black Alabamians will eventually have the congressional map they deserve – one that fairly represents all voters.”
Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, chair of the Alabama Democrats, said in a tweet that “if there ever was a time for Congress to act on voting rights legislation, now would be it. Make no mistake, this is not a good outcome.”
This article was originally posted on U.S. Supreme Court blocks lower court ruling in Alabama Congressional maps