The Supreme Court has rejected Alabama Republicans’ attempt to use a congressional map that includes only one majority-Black district. This is the second defeat for Alabama Republicans in three months. The court refused emergency requests to block lower court rulings that invalidated the new map, and the proceedings to approve a new map are still ongoing in the lower court. This decision is in line with the Supreme Court ruling in June that reaffirmed a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. The new map, similar to the previous one, only includes one district where Black voters have a high likelihood of electing a candidate of their choice.
The rejected map was thrown out in two different lower court rulings, which stated that an additional majority-Black district was required according to the June Supreme Court ruling. The Republican-controlled Legislature drew this map after the 2020 census, and it faced legal challenges from individual voters and the Alabama State Conference of the NAACP. Lower court judges repeatedly ruled that the Black population in Alabama was large enough and sufficiently compact to warrant a second majority-Black district. However, the state did not make any effort to draw such a district.
A new map with a second majority-Black district could benefit Democrats in their quest to gain control of the House of Representatives in the next election. Currently, there are six Republicans and one Democrat in Alabama’s congressional delegation. The Supreme Court’s ruling in June, which Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined with the three liberal justices, left open the possibility of future challenges to the Voting Rights Act. Kavanaugh stated in a separate opinion that his vote did not rule out challenges to Section 2 of the law, which pertains to considering race in redistricting. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall invoked Kavanaugh’s statements in his request to block the lower court rulings.