WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday, July 19, the Alabama House of Representatives voted 74-27 to pass a new congressional map without a second majority-Black district, defying a court order.
This comes after the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a district court decision that struck down the state’s original congressional map for likely violating Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). Despite the district court ordering Alabama to pass a map with two majority-Black districts, the Alabama House of Representatives passed a map that only contains one.
Alabama’s road to a new congressional map has been a long and winding one. In November 2021, two lawsuits were filed on behalf of voters and pro-voting organizations alleging that Alabama’s congressional map violates Section 2 of the VRA. A district court blocked the map and ordered the creation of a new map with two majority-Black districts. “[A]ny remedial plan will need to include two districts in which Black voters either comprise a voting-age majority or something quite close to it,” the January 2022 order reads.
On June 8, 2023, the Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s decision that blocked Alabama’s congressional map for likely violating the VRA and ordered Alabama to redraw its map to include a second majority-Black congressional district.
By passing a non-compliant map, the Republican-controlled House is blatantly ignoring that ruling. Despite the plaintiffs providing a plan to the Legislature that complies with the VRA and includes two majority-Black districts, Alabama Republicans advanced their own plans that contain only one majority-Black district. Indeed, the second district in the House plan passed today contains only 42% Black voting age population.
The Legislature has until Friday, July 21 to enact a plan. If the Legislature fails to enact a plan by Friday, a court-appointed special master will take over the process. Alternatively, if the Legislature does enact a plan and any plaintiff groups oppose the map, they can file objections with the court. If necessary, a hearing will be held to address concerns over the map on Aug. 14.
Meanwhile, the Alabama Senate will convene later today at 4 p.m. EDT to hold a floor session on a separate proposed map. This map similarly lacks a second majority-Black district.