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Alabama officials ask Supreme Court to stop the ordered redraw of their Congressional map

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall asked the Supreme Court on Friday to stop the ordered redraw of their Congressional lines, one day  after an appeals court on Thursday denied their motion to pause the redraw.

On Tuesday, a panel of three federal judges said the latest Congressional map likely violates the Voting Rights Act by having only one seat where Black voters make up a majority or plurality of the district. 

A lawsuit over the map was initially brought up by Democratic Senate Majority Leader Bobby Singleton and Evan Milligan, executive director of Alabama Forward, a civic engagement organization.

In their appeal decision on Thursday, the three judges  wrote that the plaintiffs suing over the maps "are substantially likely to succeed on the merits of their Section Two claims."

Alabama proposed congressional map. Alabama Secretary of State

"We carefully revisited each finding of fact with fresh eyes to determine whether we could discern any basis to depart from our original analysis. We see none," the judges wrote. "We discern no basis for a finding that this case is the extraordinary case in which we must allow an election under a map that we have determined very likely violates the Voting Rights Act."

Alabama Republicans who filed the appeal, including Secretary of State John Merrill, argued that drawing two majority-Black congressional districts "permits race to predominate in redistricting at all times, in all places, and in all district," and would violate other redistricting requirements such as minimizing the deviation in populations from district to district, or keeping communities together. 

They also argued that "chaos would ensue" if a redraw is required "with the 2022 campaign cycle in full swing."

In response, the court wrote that the offered remedial plans from the plaintiffs, which have two majority-Black congressional districts, fulfill all other redistricting requirements. "A federal court's decision whether to allow an election to proceed under an unlawful electoral map does not rise and fall on the status of a campaign cycle," they added.

The three-judge panel includes two judges appointed by former President Trump and one circuit judge appointed by former President Clinton. They gave Alabama's legislature 14 days to draw a new map in their decision on Tuesday.

Alabama's Black residents currently make up 26.8% of the state's population, and account for 34% of the state's entire population increase last decade. The majority were drawn into Alabama's 7th district, which has a Black voting age population of over 54%, according to the Princeton Gerrymandering Project.

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