Alabama Republicans refuse to draw a second Black congressional district in defiance of Supreme Court
The Supreme Court this year reaffirmed a federal court order for Alabama to include two districts where Black voters make up voting-age majorities, “or something quite close to it.”
Alabama Republicans on Friday defied a U.S. Supreme Court order by passing a new congressional map that includes only one majority-Black district.
The GOP-controlled Legislature had called a special session to redraw an earlier map after the Supreme Court reaffirmed a federal court order to include two districts where Black voters make up voting-age majorities, “or something quite close to it.” But on Friday, state Republicans approved a new map with just one majority-Black seat and a second district that is approximately 40% Black.
The bill passed the House in a 75-28 vote after the Senate voted 24 to 6 in favor of the revised map.
The map was completed Friday afternoon — hours before the court-ordered deadline for the Legislature to draw up new boundaries — as a compromise between the House and Senate versions.
Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed the redistricting map into law Friday night. A federal court will hold a hearing on the map Aug. 14.
“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 signing the measure. "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.”
Democrats slammed the map and its drafters, arguing that legislators ignored a court order and that the map continued the racist history of voter suppression.
"There was never any intent in this building to comply with their court order," said state Rep. Chris England, a Democrat from Tuscaloosa. "There was never any intent in this building to comply with the Voting Rights Act."
England and other Democrats argued the map was designed to bring another challenge to the Voting Rights Act.
"I'm ashamed of what we did here this week," said state Rep. Juandalynn Givan, a Democrat from Birmingham. "We’ve chosen to outright, blatantly disobey the law and to further attempt and vote to bury the Voting Rights Act."