Many Democrats are bullish on their chances of winning back the Senate next year, and most sound confident they can hold on to the White House. Few think they have a prayer of taking back the House of Representatives. So now they’re playing the long game – turning to the courts to help deliver what the ballot box won’t. Top Democratic attorneys are arguing before state and federal courts that district maps drawn in a handful of states violate the Voting Rights Act by improperly packing African American voters into a small number of districts, limiting their influence.
In Virginia, a U.S. District Court ruled last year that the Commonwealth’s one majority-black district, stretching from Richmond to Hampton Roads, limited those voters. Now, legislators have until September 1 to draw new maps.
The U.S. Supreme Court in March ordered a lower court to consider whether Alabama’s legislature similarly packed African American voters into state legislative districts to minimize their influence. Last month, the high court ordered North Carolina’s Supreme Court to consider whether legislators there had done the same thing.
And in March, Florida’s Supreme Court heard arguments over whether new district maps violate state constitutional mandates that prohibit gerrymandering on a partisan basis.