Alabama Republicans reject second majority-Black district despite Supreme Court order

Montgomery, Alabama - Alabama Republicans are defying calls to create a second majority-Black congressional district, despite the US Supreme Court finding their previous electoral maps disenfranchised Black voters.

The Supreme Court ruled in June that Alabama had discriminated against Black voters and needed to redraw its congressional maps.
The Supreme Court ruled in June that Alabama had discriminated against Black voters and needed to redraw its congressional maps.  © ALEX WONG / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

Black Americans make up around a quarter of registered voters in Alabama. Nevertheless, the Republican-controlled legislature in 2021 redrew congressional maps with just one majority-Black district out of seven total in the state.

The challenge to the maps went all the way to the Supreme Court, where justices ruled 5-4 in June that the redistricting plan likely violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The high court upheld a lower court decision that Alabama should add a second majority-Black district or something "close to it."

Republicans have responded by redrawing Alabama's second congressional district to make it 42.5% rather than 30% Black – keeping Black Americans, who typically vote for Democrats, well below majority status, the Associated Press reported.

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House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter said he believes the new district could swing either Democrat or Republican: "I think that the models will show that it could go either way, probably. I think all the court’s asked for was a fair chance. I certainly think that map does it. I don’t think there’s any question about that."

Alabama's Permanent Legislative Committee on Reapportionment approved the proposed map in a 14-6 party-line vote, without any public hearings.

State lawmakers have until Friday to approve new congressional maps.

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund has already said it will challenge the GOP proposal if it goes through.

Cover photo: ALEX WONG / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

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