Supreme Court, in 5-4 Vote, Restores Alabama’s Congressional Voting Map

In a separate dissent, Judge Elena Kagan said the majority was seriously misguided.

“It does a disservice to the District Court, which meticulously applied this court’s long-standing precedent on voting rights,” she wrote. “Most importantly, it does a disservice to black people in Alabam who, under this precedent, have had their voting power diminished — in violation of a law this court once knew to buttress all of American democracy.”

Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor joined in Justice Kagan’s dissent.

In previous rulings, the Supreme Court effectively gutted Section 5 of the law, which had required federal approval of changes to state and local election laws in areas of the country with a history of racial discrimination, and reduced section 2 of the law, limit the ability of minority groups to challenge voting restrictions.

The Alabama case also concerns Division 2, but in the context of a redistricting.

Section 2 prohibits any voting procedure that “results in the denial or impairment of the right of any citizen of the United States to vote because of his race.” This occurs, the provision continues, when, “based on the totality of the circumstances”, racial minorities “have fewer opportunities than other members of the electorate to participate in the political process and to elect the representatives of their choice”.

In November, the Republican-controlled Alabama legislature redrew the map of the state’s seven congressional districts to reflect the 2020 census. It maintained a single precinct in which black voters make up the majority .

This district has long elected a Democrat, while the other six districts in the state are represented by Republicans.

After the map was challenged by black voters and advocacy groups, a unanimous three-judge panel at Birmingham Federal District Court ruled last month that the Legislative Assembly should have fashioned a second district “in which black voters include either a majority of voting age or something quite close.

The unsigned ruling was joined by Judge Stanley Marcus, who usually sits on the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta and was appointed by President Bill Clinton; and by Justices Anna M. Manasco and Terry F. Moorer, both appointed by President Donald J. Trump.