A brief filed Sunday in Alabama's redistricting case claimed the proposed congressional map takes away the power of the black vote in Mobile County and gives it to the white vote in Baldwin County.
The friend-of-the-court briefing was filed by Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed, Lisman Mayor Jason Ward, Jefferson County commissioner Sheila Tyson, State Sen. Merika Coleman (D-Pleasant Grove), State Sen. Linda Coleman-Madison (D-Birmingham), State Rep. Napoleon Bracy (D-Prichard) and State Rep. Patrick Sellers (D-Pleasant Grove).
The brief supports the plaintiff's objections to the remedial map, claiming racially polarized voting makes the remedial map inadequate, the legislature's map favors white voters in Baldwin County over black voters in Mobile County and that legislators are focused on power, not Voting Rights Act compliance.
The filers claim the legislature only "modestly" modified the prior map, which was found to be likely unconstitutional.
"[T]he Legislature has flouted its obligations in an effort to entrench power and to continue to undermine Black voters throughout the State," the briefing states. "We urge this Court to continue to press the State to fulfill its obligations under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act."
Furthermore, the briefing states the proposed map does not include two districts in which black voters comprise a voting-age majority or close to it. The filers said lawmakers are trying to connect Mobile and Baldwin Counties economically due to the development of highways and bridges and their cultural influences from French and Spanish heritage. However, there is a more important and immediate historical connection between Mobile and the rest of the Black Belt, the briefing continues.
"As an historical matter, there is stronger connection between Mobile and the Black Belt," it reads. "Representative Barbara Drummond wrote powerfully: 'Mobile is the watershed of the Black Belt; it is where the slaves came in and went up to labor, and where the cotton came down to be shipped out.' Dating back centuries, including as a result of slavery, there is significant economic interdependence between the Black Belt, the City of Mobile, and its northern suburbs. In other contexts, such as education, the State groups the City of Mobile and parts of the Black Belt together. CD 1, as drawn, should be rejected again."
The case is being heard Monday in a federal court in Birmingham.
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