WASHINGTON, D.C. — After a federal court struck down Georgia’s legislative and congressional maps last week, yesterday, a judge paused a separate case challenging the state’s maps.
A trial was previously scheduled to begin on Nov. 13 in the now-paused lawsuits, one of which was brought by the NAACP and other brought by Common Cause against all three maps.The groups argue that the state’s congressional and legislative maps are racial gerrymanders that violate the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and dilute Black voting power in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA).
As a result of last week’s decision, which found that all three maps dilute the voting strength of Black voters and therefore violate the VRA, Georgia must adopt new maps with one additional majority-Black congressional district in the Atlanta metro area, two additional majority-Black state Senate districts and five majority-Black state House districts.
The Georgia Legislature must enact the new compliant maps by Dec. 8. Gov. Brian Kemp (R) has scheduled a special legislative session for Nov. 29 to begin the process of drawing new maps.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) wrote in a court filing yesterday that while he does plan to appeal Thursday’s ruling striking down the maps, he will not seek a pause of the decision while the appeal is pending.
Yesterday’s court ordered pause will not delay progress toward fair maps as litigation remains ongoing in the Section 2 cases that struck down the state’s maps. Additionally, Raffensperger’s conclusion to not seek a pause means that progress toward fair maps in the state can continue — as of now.