The U.S. Supreme Court has restored, at least for the 2022 mid-term election cycle, an Alabama redistricting map that, according to a lower court, violates the voting rights of black voters in the state. The Supreme Court has done this without reaching a decision on the ultimate issue: whether the redistricting really is a prohibited racial gerrymander. It will hear full arguments and receive a full briefing of that issue in its next term, and is unlikely to have any opinion until well after the November elections.
Just weeks ago a panel of three federal court judges found that the Republican dominated legislature in Alabama would have to go back to the drawing board: that it overstepped when it approved a map with six majority-white Congressional districts and only one majority-Black district.
Alabama’s population is roughly 27% Black.
The Thing to Know:
In a shadow docket decision Monday, Feb. 7, a majority of the Justices said that the lower court’s demand for a new map could throw the entire election cycle into “chaos and confusion.” Four Justices dissented: the three nominees of Democratic Presidents on the court (Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan) along with the Chief Justice, John Roberts. Kagan, on behalf of the dissenters, said that the high court was forcing “Black Alabamians to suffer what under the law is clear vote dilution.”