The Supreme Court said Monday that it will review Alabama’s legislative reapportionment plan, accepting a challenge from the state’s Democrats and African American legislators that the new plan was an attempt to limit minority effectiveness. The challengers said the state’s ruling Republicans packed too many minority voters into too few districts — ensuring minority representation in those districts but harming the chances for influence elsewhere. A three-judge federal panel had rejected the challenges filed by the Alabama Legislative Black Caucus and the Alabama Democratic Conference.
That court agreed with Alabama, ruling 2 to 1 that the legislature had successfully navigated a “political thicket” by obeying federal laws and the Constitution regarding redistricting while at the same time ensuring minority representation.
Alabama has one of the nation’s highest percentages of African Americans serving in the state legislature.
But the challengers said Republicans who control the state’s political leadership in effect supplied too much of a good thing. Districts with a minority population that would ensure the election of an African American were packed with even more black voters, raising the proportions to more than 70 percent.