Supreme Court will review Alabama's redrawn voting maps
June 2nd, 2014
02:53 PM ET
4 months ago

Supreme Court will review Alabama's redrawn voting maps

(CNN) – A challenge to Alabama's Republican-drawn legislative maps, which some civil rights and political groups say amounts to an unconstitutional racial quota and gerrymandering, will be reviewed by the Supreme Court.

The justices announced Monday they would decide whether the redrawn boundaries crowded African-American voters into fewer black-majority districts, reducing their political clout in a state where they make up an estimated 27 percent of the population.

Oral arguments would be held in the fall.

The high court's move to intervene will not affect Tuesday's scheduled primaries in Alabama, which will use the redrawn boundaries.

But the map's opponents could ask that it not be implemented for the November general election, at least until the Supreme Court rules, which may not happen for another year.

A special panel of federal judges had allowed the legislative lines to go into effect, saying it did not violate federal law or the Constitution.

All states had to realign their voting districts following the 2010 U.S. Census to reflect population shifts.

The new numbers spell out congressional reapportionment as the states divvy up the 435 seats in the House.

In that census, Republicans nationally dominated the redistricting game because they controlled the entities, mostly state legislatures in charge of drawing new districts.

Redistricting in other states has also led to court challenges.

Alabama is in flux with its white population declining from about 71 percent in 2000 to an estimated 67 percent in 2011.

The Hispanic population is also increasing, while the African-American population has remained relatively stable statewide, although the Birmingham, Montgomery, and Huntsville areas saw some growth.

The redrawn map was attacked by state Democrats and civil rights leaders as "very particular and striking," they said in their appeal to the high court.

But the Republican majority said the Justice Department had reviewed the new map and allowed it to go into effect. They said the 2010 census revealed the older voting maps were badly apportioned.

In a separate ruling last June, the conservative majority on the high court sharply diluted the power of the federal government to maintain oversight over voting procedures in states with a history of voting discrimination, including Alabama.

That case involved pre-approving voting changes in Shelby County, outside Birmingham.

Some civil rights activists say that decision would embolden certain states to carry out ballot procedures aimed at disenfranchising minority voters. Many Republicans reject such suggestions.

The current cases are Alabama Democratic Conference v. Alabama (13-1138) and Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama (13-895).


Filed under: Alabama • Redistricting • Supreme Court
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. RWB1956

    And attacks on the content of this story begins now.(if not sooner).

    June 2, 2014 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  2. carlos

    California is taking the lead in getting politics out of redistricting. Independent commissions should be the way to go.

    June 2, 2014 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  3. Chris-E...al

    The nation should use Alabamas voter rights law as example . We have a vote truck going around city to city and nieghberhoods giving picture I.D.s to the poor and home bound and old .

    June 2, 2014 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "Redistricting in other states has also led to court challenges."

    Many very successful, which says all it needs to say...and which is why CNN skips reporting that part. TX was particularly egregious because there were emails between state legislators quite literally gaming out how to squash and dilute growing the political influence of the Hispanic community, which accounted for 90% of TX's population growth from 2000-2010. They were explicitly talking about how to find ways and horse-trade along district lines in a way that would dampen the growth in political influence that would come with the growth in population share. Of course, we'll no doubt see a 5-4 decision here, with Kennedy yet again betraying reason since he and Roberts, in particular, seem to live under this strange and frightening delusion that racism is no longer a problem in Amurikkka.

    June 2, 2014 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  5. Al-NY,NY

    why bother? It will be 5-4 with the GOP shills obeying their congressional masters

    June 2, 2014 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  6. Vence

    Gerrymandering is the last embarrassment of the Republican party before is gone forever!

    June 2, 2014 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  7. Just the Facts

    Some civil rights activists say that decision would embolden certain states to carry out ballot procedures aimed at disenfranchising minority voters.
    --

    Speculation and fear mongering is not proof or facts. Don't Democrats know you need facts in court?

    June 2, 2014 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  8. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    The only way they can win. And of course the SCOTUS will side with them. Keep voting GOP people, we'll back to living like the 1850's before you know it. A time when we knew our place and knew not to even try to get things changed because if you did you could find yourself swinging from the nearest tree. God help us...

    June 2, 2014 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  9. just asking

    republican and conservative groups need to be challenging redistricting in democrat states that gerrymander districts into minority controlled districts in order to guarantee minority seats in the congress. if gerrymandering is stopped, it must be stopped in all of its forms, even the ones used by democrats for afirmative action house seats.

    June 2, 2014 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  10. smith

    Both sides accuse each other of cheating and this is why we need to revamp the electoral vote system. One state equals one electoral college vote and no more districts. This will root out the big money in national elections.

    June 2, 2014 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  11. BLKvotingAmerican

    More Southern States racism. As if this country has never been here before in the SOUTH!

    June 2, 2014 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  12. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP HOWDEE GOWDEE SHOW with special guest ISSA the CLOWN

    It amazes me the SUPREME KANGAROO COURT that used to have CREDIBILITY with USA voters is losing it all with a bunch of right wingers like scala and Thomas that DONT belong there

    June 2, 2014 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  13. Bill from GA

    just asking – " ... minority controlled districts "

    Minority controlled districts are used in Georgia to keep the non-minority districts 'pure'. Minorities are going to vote, so repubs get a few districts to hold most of them, ensuring that the non-minority districts are safe.

    Trouble is, those minorities just won't stay put. And what do the repubs do when the minorities become the majority??

    June 2, 2014 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  14. Say WHAT???

    BLKvotingAmerican
    More Southern States racism. As if this country has never been here before in the SOUTH!
    --

    You have obviously never been to Boston, Massachusetts have you? Supposedly one of the most liberal Democrat states.

    June 2, 2014 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  15. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP HOWDEE GOWDEE SHOW with special guest ISSA the CLOWN

    The GOP did the same thing in south Florida to give favortism to the GOP BUT the court STEPED in and are making them DO IT OVER that will give dems the edge in the 2014 elections . See , sometimes the GOP VITE RIGGING aTTEMPTS. BACKFIRE on these GOP MORONS!!!!!

    June 2, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  16. Patriot

    Way down south in the land of Cotton.......old times there must be forgotten.....

    June 2, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    Wanna know just how desperate the GOP/Teatrolls truly are to "neutralize" the demographic shifts? Just take a look at Scott Fistler, who is a GOPer/Teatroll who previously ran and lost for AZ's 7th district (which is heavily Hispanic). So what did little Scotty do?

    He legally changed his name to "Cesar Chavez" (Hispanic labor rights and civil rights legend) and switched his party to Dem.

    Because, you know, lying to Hispanic community and trying to literally be a Trojan horse for GOP/Teatroll policies is gonna help soooooo much with all that "outreach."

    June 2, 2014 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  18. Patrick

    Voting itself is very important. The lack of oversight into voting is scary. As others have said all people of voting age should have an ID that can be used when voting. Once that person votes they are done for that election. No one should be voting multiple times. A quick search show people boasting about voting in 4+ states in a federal election. They say they own property in those states. For state level elections in those states that is fine. For federal elections it is not. One vote for federal elections. No checking is allowing people to vote multiple times.

    June 2, 2014 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    Wow... 27% black now huh? Is that why the state needs so much federal money? How many are tax payers, not government check takers?

    June 2, 2014 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  20. sonny chapman

    Just The Facts- I've lived in the South my whole life. We used to have N Haters. Now they call themselves Conservatives. If I were a Non-Hating True Conservative, I'd sue for defamation.

    June 2, 2014 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  21. Boomer in Mo

    Gerrymandering is supposed to be illegal but this SCOTUS will rule that it is fine because corporations are people too and money is speech. You should see what the GOP mappers did to Missouri.

    June 2, 2014 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  22. Bill from GA

    BLKvotingAmerican – " More Southern States racism "

    The South has a greater percentage of blacks than other areas. But they won't get out and vote. I live in a majority black area and the polls are always empty, except for a presidential election.

    Georgia would likely have a Democrat for Governor if the Blacks had voted in 2010.

    June 2, 2014 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  23. Donna

    Bill from GA
    Trouble is, those minorities just won't stay put. And what do the repubs do when the minorities become the majority??
    --

    Thank you for finally admitting that minorities vote based on race. Yet when white voters do this, it is called racism. Interesting little game the left plays with race, isn't it?

    June 2, 2014 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  24. Silence DoGood

    The core conservative philosophy must be pretty weak if they need to cover and manipulate with redistricting, conspiracy theories, and voters blocking.

    June 2, 2014 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    "Wow... 27% black now huh? Is that why the state needs so much federal money? How many are tax payers, not government check takers?"

    That's right...wear your racism like a badge of honor. Please proceed. Man am I glad that I'm young enough that I'll likely see and be part of the GOP/Teatrolls' demographic Armageddon.

    June 2, 2014 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
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