Supreme Court To Hear South Carolina Republicans’ Challenge To Racial Gerrymandering Decision

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The Supreme Court announced Monday it will consider South Carolina Republican lawmakers’ challenge to a lower court decision that found they had racially gerrymandered a map for one of the state’s congressional districts.

The NAACP filed a lawsuit in 2021 alleging the new congressional district maps drawn by Republican lawmakers discriminated against black voters by intentionally diluting their votes, according to the complaint. After a three-judge lower court ruled in January that the 1st District map was racially gerrymandered, Republican lawmakers appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that the lower court did not examine the South Carolina General Assembly’s intent, presume good faith or analyze the Congressional district as a whole.

Further, lawmakers argue the court “disregarded the publicly available election data.” (RELATED: Supreme Court To Settle Congressional Dems’ Dispute With Executive Branch Over Trump Hotel Records)

“[W]hereas race is highly correlated with politics, election data is perfectly correlated with politics,” they wrote. “The panel never tried to explain why the General Assembly would use race as a proxy for politics when it could (and did) use election data directly for politics.”

Republican Rep. Nancy Mace currently represents South Carolina’s 1st Congressional district, which she won by just over one point in 2020 and by nearly 14 points in 2022 after the maps had been redrawn.

“The lower court reached its decision by applying firmly-rooted Supreme Court precedent to well-supported factual findings,” ACLU of South Carolina legal director Allen Chaney said in statement. “Now that the case is on appeal, we expect that the Supreme Court will follow a similar path and affirm.”

Lawmakers requested the Supreme Court schedule oral arguments for no later than October 2023 and issue a decision by January 1, 2024 in order to ensure “clarity for the 2024 election cycle.”

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