Democrats, Republicans at odds over Alabama’s congressional map

There is new reaction to the ongoing legal battle over Alabama's congressional map.
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 7:38 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 14, 2023 at 7:52 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - On Thursday afternoon, Democratic lawmakers spoke out in Montgomery against the state’s attempt to stop the redrawing of Alabama’s congressional map. They say they are disturbed by the language used in the state’s appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, in which the state made its case for why Alabama’s congressional map should stay the same.

In the appeal to the Supreme Court, the state claims “race-based redistricting, at the expense of traditional principles, bears an uncomfortable resemblance to political apartheid.”

“Apartheid, as we know, was the practice of governmental oppression creating a group of second class citizens in the political structure,” said Jerome Dees with the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Democratic stakeholders in the redistricting case say the state’s interpretation of political apartheid is cause for alarm.

“What he’s really saying is political Jim Crow,” said Sen, Kirk Hatcher, D-Montgomery.

Hatcher accused the state of wanting to remove section 2 of the act that safeguards against racial discrimination in the election process.

“We cannot and will not stand by and allow this to occur, disenfranchising voters without a very clear, direct and forceful response,” he said.

Their response the encouragement of more Alabamians to register to vote to get people to the polls.

“Our people in the community need to wake up. You can’t sit at home,” said Hatcher. “I saw people in wheelchairs, I saw people pushing walkers to get in to vote.”

Republican lawmakers say they created the map using traditional redistricting principles. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said they want Supreme Court justices to weigh in on whether the order to draw a map based on race complies with the Voting Rights Act.

“The ultimate remedy is to allow the map the Legislature passed in this most recent session to go into place, and that’s the remedy that we’ll seek,” Marshall said.

The Supreme Court gave plaintiffs until next Tuesday to respond to the state’s appeal.

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