Federal Court Approves Alabama Congressional Map That Could Give Dems Another Seat

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Alabama’s new congressional map selected by a federal court Wednesday includes a second majority-black district, likely securing one of the state’s House seats for Democrats.

The court ordered the Alabama Secretary of State to administer the new map during the upcoming election, making it likely the court-drawn map will be used for the 2024 election cycle. The three-judge panel previously appointed a Special Master to draw the map after finding the state legislature had failed to include a second district with a black-majority, or close to it, as required.

“The Secretary and the Legislators object generally to all the Special Master’s Remedial Plans on the ground that the Special Master allowed race to predominate over traditional districting principles,” the court wrote. “In essence, this is the same argument that we and the Supreme Court have rejected at each successive stage of this litigation — that any map that fails to ‘meet or beat’ the 2023 Plan on traditional districting criteria favored by the State necessarily allows race to predominate in its creation.”

The initial maps drawn by the GOP-majority state legislature were rejected 5-4 by the Supreme Court as a violation of the Voting Rights Act in June, pushing the legislature to meet during a special session in July to draw a new one. Alabama appealed the district court’s rejection of its revised map again to the Supreme Court, but the justices allowed the decision to stand.

“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,” the three-judge panel wrote in early September.

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