This article by Nathaniel Rakich is published by Fivethirtyeight. Here is an excerpt
On Jan. 24, Alabama became the second state (after Ohio) to have its new congressional map struck down in court. But while Ohio’s map was thrown out by the state Supreme Court for violating the state constitution, Alabama’s was overturned by three federal judges who determined the map short-changed Black voters of representation in Congress. That’s a significant difference because it will require the Supreme Court to weigh in, potentially reshaping federal law in the process. As a result, the ruling could reverberate far beyond Alabama. It could open the door for increased nonwhite representation in other states, too — if it holds up on appeal.
As a refresher, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2019 that partisan gerrymandering was a political question that federal courts should not adjudicate. However, they can still hear cases relating to racial gerrymandering — i.e., whether a map discriminates against voters of a certain race. Alabama poses just such a question. Back in November 2021, Alabama’s Republican-controlled legislature passed a new congressional map that created six majority-white districts and just one majority-Black district. Civil-rights advocates sued, arguing that Black voters in the state were entitled to a second district under the Voting Rights Act, the landmark law that prohibits racial discrimination in voting.
Read the full article here.