Alabama’s complicated history of race and politics will be Exhibit A when the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments Wednesday in a case that could change how state lawmakers decide legislative boundaries. The justices will hear 70 minutes of argument about whether the Republicans in charge of Alabama’s legislature relied too heavily on race when they redrew state legislative maps after the 2010 census. Black Democrats allege that the GOP, which gained control of the legislature in the 2010 elections for the first time in more than a century, intentionally packed more black voters into already majority-black districts in order to make the other districts more friendly for Republicans.
Many states have considered race in creating majority-black and majority-Hispanic districts and increasing the chances of electing minorities. The practice has been sanctioned by the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Justice Department and is credited with helping give minorities a fair shot at winning elections after decades of discrimination.
But the Alabama Democratic Conference and the Alabama Legislative Black Caucus say Alabama Republicans went too far and unnecessarily made majority-black districts even more black, just to make it easier to elect Republicans everywhere else.
“This case is ultimately about whether states (in good faith or bad) will unnecessarily turn the Voting Rights Act into a racial straightjacket and, perversely, into a barrier to interracial political coalitions,” lawyers for the Alabama Democratic Conference wrote in court papers.
Full Article: Justices to hear Alabama redistricting case.