A Supreme Court redistricting ruling gave hope to Black voters

State Bar & Other Associations

The Supreme Court’s decision siding with Black voters in an Alabama redistricting case gave Democrats and voting rights activists a surprising opportunity before the 2024 elections.

New congressional maps would have to include more districts in Alabama and potentially other states where Black voters would have a better chance of electing someone of their choice, a decision widely seen as benefiting Democrats.

It’s been more than three months since the justice’s 5-4 ruling, and maps that could produce more districts represented by Black lawmakers still do not exist.

Alabama Republicans are hoping to get a fresh hearing on the issue before the Supreme Court. Republican lawmakers in Louisiana never even bothered to draw a new map.

Khadidah Stone, a plaintiff in the Alabama case, said the continuing opposition was “appalling” but “not surprising.” She noted that Alabama is where then-Gov. George Wallace blocked Black students from integrating the University of Alabama in 1963.

“There is a long history there of disobeying court orders to deny Black people our rights,” she said.

A similar dynamic is playing out in Florida, where Republicans are appealing a ruling favorable to Black voters to the Republican-majority state Supreme Court.

Lawsuits over racially gerrymandered congressional maps in several other states, including Georgia, South Carolina and Texas, quickly followed the Supreme Court’s landmark Voting Rights Act decision in June. But the continued pushback from Republican legislatures in control of redistricting means there is great uncertainty about whether –- or how soon -– new maps offering equal representation for Black voters will be drawn.

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