In the ongoing battle for votes and congressional seats, a panel of federal court judges have shared that Alabama’s new map, which was drawn by Republican state lawmakers, is unfair to Black voters.
The opinion released late Monday, the judges sided with plaintiffs, including Alabama’s chapter of the ACLU and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., writing that under the congressional map, “Black voters have less opportunity than other Alabamians to elect candidates of their choice to Congress.”
The GOP majority, while crafting the maps last year, drew in just one majority Black district. According to the 2020 Alabama Census Count, 27% of the state’s residents identify as Black. This means that the federal judges order means that the map needs to include at least two Black-majority districts, “or something quite close to it.”
Terri Sewell, a U.S. Rep for Alabama, a Democrat, and the only Black member of the state’s congressional delegation, called the news “monumental.”
“Increasing political representation of Black Alabamians is exactly what John Lewis and the Foot Soldiers who marched across the bridge in my hometown of Selma fought for,” Sewell added.
State Attorney General Steve Marshall says he plans to petition the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court in the coming days. State lawmakers have until Feb. 11 to come up with a new plan.