The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday over whether Alabama’s new congressional map disenfranchises black voters — a case that could have repercussions across the country.
At issue is a map of the state’s seven House districts based on the 2020 Census, which civil rights and other liberal groups contend dilutes the political power of black voters.
Although blacks make up 27% of the state’s population, they are a majority in just one of the seven districts.
A chapter of the NAACP, a group of Alabama voters and the multi-faith organization Greater Birmingham Ministries sued, saying the map concentrates black voters into a single district and disperses the remainder throughout the state.
The plaintiffs argue that the map hinders their ability to elect their preferred candidates and violates part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that bars discriminating against voters because of race.
They want the map redrawn to create a second majority-black district.
Alabama maintains that elections should remain “race neutral” and that creating another majority-black district would actually violate the Constitution by requiring “race-based sorting.”
A three-judge appeals court panel, which included two appointees of former President Donald Trump, ruled unanimously in January that the map likely violated the Voting Rights Act and agreed that two majority-black districts should be created for the 2022 elections.
But the Supreme Court stayed the lower court’s ruling in February, with conservative Justices Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh insisting the order for a new map came down too close to the Nov. 8 midterm elections.
Chief Justice John Roberts joined the liberal wing of the court in their dissent.
Alabama wants the court to overturn the appeals court’s decision and keep the map in place until the 2030 Census necessitates a redrawn map.
With Post wires