SCOTUS Shocks With ‘Huge’ Ruling Protecting Black Voters in Alabama

The Supreme Court – yes, the one with the two sketchy justices who’ve had to request extensions for their financial disclosure filings – has done something kind of decent on Thursday. To the surprise of most, in what is described as a “huge” ruling, the court today preserved federal voting rights protections in Alabama that many thought would be further gutted by this conservative court.

In Allen v. Milligan, the Court’s ruling affirmed Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

Alabama officials were ordered by the court to redraw the state’s congressional map to allow an additional Black majority district to more accurately reflect the fact that 27% of the state is Black. They’ve previously only had the majority in one of Alabama’s seven drawn congressional districts.

The same justice who years ago gutted a different section of the Voting Rights Act, Chief Justice John Roberts, wrote the opinion for the majority.

In a 5-4 decision with the three liberals, Roberts and Kavanaugh, the court affirmed a lower court ruling that found Alabama violated the Voting Rights Act by diluting Black people’s votes via (Republican) gerrymandered maps.

The Campaign Legal Center weighed in on the decision, “GOOD NEWS today from #SCOTUS on #VotingRights. The Supreme Court upheld the voting rights of Black Alabamians in #AllenVMilligan and prevented politicians from using unfair voting maps to drown out Black voices. More to come as we analyze the decision.”

In a statement sent to PoliticusUSA, Paul Smith, senior vice president at Campaign Legal Center, wrote, “We are heartened that the Supreme Court upheld Section 2 of the VRA, one of the most important tools available to ensure every voter, particularly Black and brown voters who have historically been denied the freedom to vote, has an equal voice in our democracy.”

“A huge ruling today that preserves federal voting rights protections that many advocates thought were certainly lost or at least likely to be (further) gutted,” Chris Geidner of Law Dork wrote, sharing a link to the decision.

A 2017 AP analysis showed Alabama was saddled with one of the most gerrymandered congressional maps in the country.

While both parties have engaged in gerrymandering, since 2010 the Republican Party have abused their power to gerrymander maps to such a degree that the laws being passed or not passed often do not reflect the actual will of American voters. The AP summarized a Brennan Center report as “not only found a persistent Republican advantage in gerrymandered maps, but also ‘clear evidence that aggressive gerrymandering is distorting the nation’s congressional maps,’ posing a ‘threat to democracy.’”

This level of gerrymandering has been a large part of the corruption of our political processes that has kept us from getting things most voters want, like gun control.

In a functioning democracy, no party would have control over maps. They would be nonpartisan and fair to all voters. The ongoing attacks on Black voters coming via policy, gerrymandering, lawsuits, harassment and voter roll purging from the Republican side of the aisle is an affront to every Americans’ morality and sense of pride in their own country. Every citizen of this country should be fairly represented and their voice should count equally.

The Supreme Court didn’t do the Republicans’ bidding for a change of pace, so it’s a good day for democracy.

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