Showing posts with label gerrymandering. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gerrymandering. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 05, 2023

Judges Rule Alabama Congressional Map Discriminates Against Black Voters Again

A panel of three U.S. judges in the southern state of Alabama ruled Tuesday that the state legislature for a second time discriminated against Black citizens in the way it redrew congressional district lines for the 2024 elections.

The panel said lawmakers refused to obey an edict giving Black voters a reasonable chance of choosing the winner of a second seat in Alabama’s seven-member delegation in the House of Representatives.

The three-judge panel said it would now appoint a special master to redraw the congressional district lines, although the state could appeal its ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the ruling Tuesday, the judicial panel said the legislature’s new plan was woefully lacking.

"We are not aware of any other case in which a state legislature — faced with a federal court order declaring that its electoral plan unlawfully dilutes minority votes and requiring a plan that provides an additional opportunity district — responded with a plan that the state concedes does not provide that district,” the judges wrote.

“The law requires the creation of an additional district that affords Black Alabamians, like everyone else, a fair and reasonable opportunity to elect candidates of their choice. The 2023 Plan plainly fails to do so."


Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Rep. Terri Sewell Statement on Federal Court Blocking Alabama Congressional Map

U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) released the following statement after a federal court blocked Alabama’s new congressional map in favor of the creation of a second majority-minority district:

“Monumental news from the court! Increasing political representation of Black Alabamians is exactly what John Lewis and the Foot Soldiers who marched across the bridge in my hometown of Selma fought for. It is the reason why I am the lead sponsor of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and have led efforts to get it signed into law.

“I am carefully reviewing the opinion and I look forward to working with the Alabama Legislature to fulfill the court’s mandate.”

Federal judges block Alabama’s congressional redistricting maps that dilute the Black vote

The Alabama Legislature’s redistricting plan for 2022 will not take effect for congressional races after a panel of three federal court judges found the map dilutes the voting power of Black residents and blocked the proposal.

Two separate federal lawsuits were filed against the redistricting map on claims that it violated the Voting Rights Act by packing Black Alabamians into a small number of districts — including one congressional district, Alabama’s seventh, represented by U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Birmingham — and limiting their influence on state elections.

Blacks comprise 27 percent of Alabama’s population yet only constitute one of the state’s seven congressional districts — or 14 percent of the districts. Alabama’s 7th Congressional District was first drawn in 1992.

The panel of three judges from federal courts in Alabama found that the plaintiffs are “substantially likely to establish” that the map violates the VRA, adding that “Black voters have less opportunity than other Alabamians to elect candidates of their choice to Congress.”

The Alabama Legislature has a variety of alternative redistricting maps they can consider, the judges noted, and said a new map “will need to include two districts in which Black voters either comprise a voting-age majority or something quite close to it.”

The panel said it would provide the Legislature with an expert to redraw the lines if Montgomery can’t come up with another map in two weeks.

“We are confident that the Legislature can accomplish its task,” the judges said, pointing out that lawmakers came up with the blocked map “in a matter of days” last year.

“Black people drove a disproportionate share of Alabama’s population growth. Throughout last year, Black Alabamians publicly called on the Legislature to recognize this reality and sought equal representation in Congress,” said NAACP Legal Defense Fund Senior Counsel Deuel Ross in a statement. “The state ignored these demands, but we are deeply gratified that the unanimous court found that Black voters deserve full representation now. We look forward to working with the Legislature to ensure that Black voters are fairly represented in any remedial map.”


Saturday, June 29, 2019

NAACP statement on Supreme Court's gerrymandering ruling

NAACP President and CEO, Derrick Johnson released the following statement on the Supreme Court's gerrymandering ruling:

Statement on Rucho v. Common Cause and Lamone v. Benisek:
“The Court’s rulings today upend our democratic principles by allowing party politics to determine the outcomes of our elections. Extreme partisan gerrymandering has infected our electoral process for far too long. Exercise of the franchise, which many fought and even died for, must not be reduced to a political charade in which the outcomes are predetermined. In America, voters should choose their representatives instead of representatives choosing their voters.
The Court should have halted this unconstitutional conduct, but it did not. This is a dereliction of duty in protecting our democracy. In racially polarized environments like North Carolina where racial block voting is standard, today’s decision will license policymakers to mask racial intent as partisan gerrymandering in order to suppress votes and prevent communities from fully participating in democracy to elect candidates of their choice.
We are entitled to fair maps and fair representation in every state. We call upon elected officials everywhere – as well as state courts – to reject partisanship and insist on fair redistricting so that everyone can have a voice.”

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Eric Holder not running for President in 2020

Former United States Attorney General Eric Holder has announced that he will not run for president in 2020 in an op-ed hr wrote for the Washington Post.

Holder wrote they he will instead focus on his redistricting reform efforts through the National Democratic Redistricting Committee.

“Though I will not run for president in 2020, I will continue to fight for the future of our country through the National Democratic Redistricting Committee and its affiliates,” he writes. “For too long, Democrats have lost sight of the state and local races that shape the day-to-day lives of the people we serve.”

"I will do everything I can to ensure that the next Democratic president is not hobbled by a House of Representatives pulled to the extremes by members from gerrymandered districts," he continued.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Supreme Court considers challenges to racial gerrymandering

One term after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the consideration of race in college admissions, and in a new term that already has cases on racial issues in the administration of the death penalty and in jury deliberations, one more race-infused subject will get the justices’ attention: redistricting.

The court will hear appeals on Dec. 5 from special three-judge federal panels that involve race considerations in redistricting in North Carolina and Virginia.

In the North Carolina case, McCrory v. Harris, the justices will consider whether two of the state’s 13 congressional districts, as drawn under a 2011 redistricting plan, represent unconstitutional racial gerrymanders.

In Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections, the court will weigh whether race was an improperly predominant factor in 12 challenged state House of Delegates districts (out of 100 districts in the state legislature’s lower house).

They’re the latest in a long line of redistricting battles to reach the high court, which has less flexibility on whether to hear such challenges than it does in most other areas of the law.

Read more: Supreme Court considers challenges to racial gerrymandering