MOULTON — When the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the Alabama Legislature to redraw the state's congressional map to create a second majority or near-majority black congressional district, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham) publicly praised the decision as a "historic victory."

However, privately, she may have been far less enthused.

"I am so excited about the historic nature of this victory," Sewell said about the case at an event in June. "It ensures that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is alive and well and enforceable. It was a historic victory for not only black voters but democracy as a whole."

Since then, the map has been redrawn to give District 2 a 40% black voting population. Sewell's district, District 7, currently the only majority-minority district in the state, would drop from 58% to nearly 50%.

Both U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) and State Sen. Larry Stutts (R-Tuscumbia) said during a community meeting in Lawrence County near Moulton on Monday evening that Sewell wasn't happy about the prospect of losing part of her voting base.

"In order to draw two [majority black] districts, it's very difficult because you have pockets of African-American communities in large numbers," Aderholt said during the meeting. "…Her [Sewell's] number will come down to about 50% African-American. She was between a rock and a hard place, I'll be honest with you. Obviously a lot of folks that she knew and worked with from the black caucus wanted to see another African-American district but it was going to bring her numbers way down. So she's going to have a real race whether she can be elected."

Stutts said the court decision did not mention creating a majority black district, only that another district would be "competitive" for a minority candidate.

"Publically [Sewell] supported the court order, but privately she was not really in favor of it because it made her district much, much more competitive," he said.

Sewell and other Democrats have condemned the new map for not creating a district with a high enough percentage to elect a minority congressman. However, Stutts said it would be hard to argue a Democrat could not be elected in District 2 since former Democratic U.S. Sen. Doug Jones carried that area in the 2017 special election against Roy Moore.

Stutts also said the rest of the country, including eight other states facing similar issues with their congressional maps, will be watching to see whether the courts ultimately accept or reject Alabama's proposed map.

"This committee in Montgomery had to try to draw these maps the best way they could to try to conform to the court's order but at the same time only saying there needed to be an opportunity district for an African-American to be elected," Aderholt said, commending the State Legislature's efforts. "With no guidance, it's very hard to do."

Aderholt currently represents Lawrence County, which will become a part of District 5 if the new map is confirmed.

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