The big U.S. Supreme Court decision affecting redistricting in Arizona, regarding whether drawing the lines for congressional districts has to be returned to the state Legislature from the independent redistricting commission, is still to come. But a decision handed down a couple of weeks ago (Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama) changed the game regardless of who next draws the lines.
The Voting Rights Act has always been interpreted as requiring the establishment of districts in which racial minorities are actually a majority. And that the minority percentage in such so-called majority-minority districts could never be diluted through redistricting.
Until recently, the first step for Arizona’s maps was preclearance by the Department of Justice. So, the first building block of map-drawing here was maintaining or increasing the minority percentage in majority-minority districts. That required packing Latino Democrats into a handful of districts.
Full Article: Court cuts political map-drawers some slack.