Alabama congressional map case heading to Supreme Court
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The lawsuit over the potential gerrymandering of Alabama’s congressional map is not over yet. Plaintiffs in the Milligan v. Merrill case filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court, and oral arguments have been set for October.
An Alabama court ruled in January that the congressional map is likely in violation of the Voting Rights Act. But the state took the decision to the Supreme Court, which allowed the use of that map for this election.
When the state appealed to the Supreme Court, they were successful in having the original congressional map in place for the 2022 election year.
“We did not use race,” said Sen. Jim McClendon, chair of the reapportionment committee.
McClendon says they used race at the end of creating the map. But that’s the problem, according to the plaintiffs in the case.
“Of the various districts in the state we are only represented in 14% of those districts,” said JaTaune Bosby with the Alabama ACLU.
The appeal that was filed by Bosby and the Alabama ACLU reads the court in Alabama “found extreme racial polarization in voting in Alabama, persistent discrimination against Black citizens in voting and other areas.”
“This is about fair representation of the Black community, considering the history of voting rights, and specifically voter suppression in the state,” said Bosby.
She said it’s important that individuals are well-represented and not packed or divided among districts…
Conversely, in a statement, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall argues “the Voting Rights Act was meant to prevent racially discriminatory practices, not mandate the sort of racial gerrymanders the plaintiffs seek to impose here.”
“When we drew these lines we were in compliance with every law and every court judgment that we were aware of,” said McClendon.
McClendon says there are other factors when creating a map, but Bosby says race needs to be higher on the list.
“The outcome that will happen in October will set the precedent for the next decade on how we vote and what representation looks like in this state,” she said.
Arguments will be heard on Oct. 4, and there’s no timeline on when the court will make its decision.
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