SEPTEMBER 5, 2023
Federal judges on Tuesday struck down a new congressional map created by Alabama Republicans that includes only one majority-Black district, defying a Supreme Court order.
“We are disturbed by the evidence that the State delayed remedial proceedings but ultimately did not even nurture the ambition to provide the required remedy,” the judges wrote in a 217-page filing Tuesday. “And we are struck by the extraordinary circumstance we face.”
“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,” they added.
Judges said a special master will be appointed to redraw a “remedial map to ensure that a plan can be implemented as part of an orderly process in advance of elections, where the State was given an opportunity to enact a compliant map but failed to do so.”
State Republicans in June approved a new map that contained just one majority-Black seat and a second district that is approximately 40% Black. The new map came after the GOP-controlled Legislature called a special session to redraw an earlier map after the Supreme Court reaffirmed a federal court order to include two districts where Black voters make up voting-age majorities, “or something quite close to it.” The court found that the newly drawn congressional map likely violated the U.S. Voting Rights Act.
The bill passed the House in a 75-28 vote after the Senate voted 24 to 6 in favor of the revised map.
Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed the redistricting map into law in July. Her office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment in response to the federal judges’ ruling Tuesday.
“Following the U.S. Supreme Court order, I called the Alabama Legislature into a special session to readdress our congressional map,” Ivey said in a statement in July after signing the measure. “The Legislature knows our state, our people and our districts better than the federal courts or activist groups, and I am pleased that they answered the call, remained focused and produced new districts ahead of the court deadline.”