Three federal judges will hear arguments Tuesday on whether the Alabama Legislature tried to reduce the voice of minority voters with a new district map? Attorneys for black legislators say yes and want to have the districts thrown out completely. “We’re hoping that the court will declare all of the majority black districts to be unconstitutional,” said James Blacksher, an attorney for the plaintiffs, in a phone interview Friday. “And then give the legislature a deadline for producing new plans. We hope in time for elections to be held under new plans in 2016.” The state says the plaintiffs have no proof that race was the predominant factor in the maps’ creation. “As the case comes back home to Montgomery, we continue to work hard to defend the constitutionality of Alabama’s legislative districts and look forward to Tuesday’s oral arguments,” Mike Lewis, a spokesman for Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, said in a statement.
The hearing will be the latest battle in a three-year war over the map — a war that has gone up to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Republican-controlled Legislature in 2012 approved House and Senate district maps that increased the percentage of black voters in majority-minority districts. The cartographers used a strict standard that gave little leeway in changing the districts’ minority population percentages. That led to increased numbers of black voters in those districts. Republicans in other Southern states used a similarly strict standard.
Full Article: Alabama redistricting battle back in federal court.