‘Deeply Troubled’: Federal Court Strikes Down Alabama’s Congressional Map

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A federal court struck down Alabama’s new congressional map Tuesday, writing that the state “did not even nurture the ambition” of complying with court orders.

The three-judge panel wrote in the ruling that it is “deeply troubled” the state would pass a map it “readily admits does not provide the remedy we said federal law requires.” After the Supreme Court found Alabama’s map violated the Voting Rights Act, a federal court imposed a July 21 deadline for the state legislature to redraw the maps to include a second district with a black voter majority, or close to it.

“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 court wrote. “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.” (RELATED: Supreme Court Strikes Down Alabama Congressional Map)

The legislature held a special session to redraw the map on July 17, enacting its 2023 Plan on July 21, according to the ruling. The map “does not remedy” the Voting Rights Act violation affirmed by the Supreme Court, the court wrote.

Democrats argued the map approved by the Republican-dominated House would not satisfy the order.

Because it would be “practically impossible” for the legislature to draft another map before the 2024 election, the court appointed a Special Master and cartographer to redraw the map.

Republican Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s office said she stands by her previous statement regarding the map.

“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 after she signed the plan into law July 21. “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.”

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