Alabama was districted to keep its 27% black population minimally represented in Congress, a gerrymander so bad even the current U.S. Supreme Court struck it down. Yesterday the justices rejected another effort to prevent the formation of a majority-black district there.
The court's 5-to-4 decision upheld a unanimous decision by a three-judge lower court panel that included two Trump appointees; the lower court had required the creation of a second majority Black congressional district, and the Supreme Court agreed. But when the case was returned to the state legislature with orders to create a second majority Black district, the GOP lawmakers didn't do that. Instead they upped the number of Black voters from 30% to 40% in one of the districts.
That prompted a sharp rebuke from the lower court. Faced with what it viewed as delaying tactics and deliberate defiance of a Supreme Court decision, the lower court appointed a special master to draw a new congressional map with two majority Black districts. To emphasize its displeasure with the state, the three-judge panel refused to put its order on hold, noting that Alabama had already conducted one congressional election in 2022 with an "unlawful map."
Heartening, in that the outcome is the right one, but also alarming in that the court is so conservative that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 now seem to rest on Chief Justice Roberts' continued vanity.