The Heritage Foundation claims the recent Supreme Court decision possibly forcing Alabama to redraw congressional districts is not in line with Voting Rights Act.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court of the United (SCOTUS) States upheld in a 5-4 decision led by Chief Justice John Roberts a lower court's ruling that Alabama will have to redraw a second largely or majority-black congressional district.
The decision drew the ire of political leadership in the state, including Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, who said the state still has an opportunity to present a "full case" at trial since the decision only upheld a previous lower-court injunction.
Proponents of the injunction lauded the SCOTUS decision, saying it would allow more representation of black votes.
According to Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, race shouldn't be a predominant factor in redistricting.
"All of those who understand that racial discrimination should have no part in the political arena, and certainly not in the redistricting process, will be disappointed in today's decision," Spakovsky said. "Justice Clarence Thomas got it exactly right when he wrote in his dissent that this decision by the court, which approves a lower court decision essentially saying that race should have been the predominant factor used by the state legislature in drawing the boundary lines for new congressional districts, lays 'bare the gulf between our "color-blind" Constitution' and the 'consciously segregated districting system being constructed' by the Court 'in the name of the Voting Rights Act.'
Alabama currently has one majority-black congressional district held by U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham).
The Supreme Court's decision sets up the prospect of the legislature convening for a special session later in the year to rewrite Alabama's Congressional district map.
According to Spakovsky, the Voting Rights Act specifically prohibits compulsory redistricting for minority voters to proportionate levels relative to the population.
"There was little evidence of discriminatory intent or conduct by the Alabama Legislature and the basis for the lower court requiring two of the seven congressional districts allotted to Alabama to be majority/minority districts in which black voters constitute a majority seemed to be the black share of the population of the state," he continued. "Yet Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act specifically prohibits forcing states to draw districts for minority voters in 'numbers equal to their proportion in the population.'"
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