In a surprising ending to many, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Black voters, striking down an Alabama congressional voting map.
As part of the 5-4 decision, the outlet noted that the court reaffirmed a lower court ruling that ordered Alabama to draw a new map, adding an additional majority-Black district. The design in question included one predominately Black region out of the state’s seven districts, which is 27 percent Black.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined the court’s three liberals in voting the majority. Justice Clarence Thomas sided with Alabama along with fellow conservatives Justices Neil Gorsuch, Amy Coney Barrett, and Samuel Alito. “As we explain below, we find Alabama’s new approach to Section 2 compelling neither in theory nor in practice. We accordingly decline to recast out Section 2 case law as Alabama requested,” Roberts wrote per The Hill.
The state previously affirmed its map did not violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act because it used a “race-neutral benchmark.” “That test is flawed in its fundamentals,” Roberts added. “Districting involves myriad considerations —compactness, contiguity, political subdivisions, natural geographic boundaries, county lines, pairing of incumbents, communities of interest, and population equality.”
After the ruling, Evan Milligan, a Black voter and the lead plaintiff in the case, shared the victory was for people of color and democracy. “We are grateful that the Supreme Court upheld what we knew to be true: that everyone deserves to have their vote matter and their voice heard. Today is a win for democracy and freedom not just in Alabama but across the United States,” Milligan said.
Last year, the nation’s highest court placed a lower court’s ruling on hold in a 5-4 emergency decision while the justices examined the case more thoroughly. Although, the challenged state map was allowed for the 2022 elections.
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