Lawsuit filed by a Black voter, Greater Birmingham Ministries, the Metro-Birmingham Branch of the NAACP and the Alabama State Conference of the NAACP challenging Jefferson County, Alabama’s county commission districts drawn with 2020 census data. The Jefferson County Commission is responsible for administering the county’s finances, allocating resources for public services and infrastructure, making appointments to various governmental boards and agencies and more. The plaintiffs argue that the challenged five-district plan, which was enacted in November 2021, “intentionally pack[s] Black voters based predomina[nt]ly on race into two supermajority Black commission districts without a sufficiently compelling justification,” while “cracking majority-Black communities of interest and stripping Black voters based on race from Commission Districts 3, 4, and 5.” In turn, the plaintiffs argue that the alleged use of race as the predominant factor during the redistricting process, which resulted in Commission Districts 1 and 2 containing a “Black voting-age populations…well above 60%,” renders the county commission’s redistricting plan a racial gerrymander that violates of the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment. Throughout their complaint, the plaintiffs underscore Jefferson County Commission’s long and invidious history of racial discrimination that has persisted to the present day. The plaintiffs ask the court to declare the challenged redistricting plan unconstitutional and to require the defendants to “enact a constitutional districting plan that does not sort Alabamians on the basis of race without sufficient justification, ends the packing of Black people into supermajority-Black Commission Districts 1 and 2, and does not strip Black people from Commission Districts 3, 4, and 5.”
On Dec. 19, 2023, the court dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims against the individual commissioners but allowed the claims against the Jefferson County Commission to proceed.