The Alabama Legislature drafted and passed a new Congressional district map in a special session last month that was intended by the court to remedy the original map’s violation of Section Two of the Voting Rights Act.
APR reported last week that state Republicans instead passed a map hoping to sway U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh into accepting the new plan.
But the three-judge federal panel emphasized in a status conference Monday that “we are not at square one in these cases.”
“Indeed, it would be unprecedented for this Court to relitigate the likely Section Two violation during these remedial proceedings, and the Court will not do so,” the judges wrote in their order.
The plaintiffs will still bear the burden of proving that the state’s remedial map fails to rectify the Section Two violation. The map passed by the Legislature would reduce the state’s existing majority-minority district from a Black voting age percentage of 55 percent to just over 50 percent, while creating a second “opportunity district” in District 2 with just a 40 percent BVAP. Critics have said that falls far short of the bar set previously by the court that the remedy would either be a second majority-minority district “or something quite close to it.”
But sources privy to the proceedings say that was never the intent of the Republican supermajority anyway, as the Alabama Senate Republicans worked with a D.C. attorney to craft a new map they hope can be brought back to the U.S. Supreme Court and, this time, flip the cards and gain approval.
The remedial hearing will be held on August 14, and the judges have removed the Singleton plaintiffs from that hearing, ruling that they aren’t a party to that portion of the case. However, a second hearing will be held directly following the remedial hearing to consider injunctive relief sought by the Singleton plaintiffs to enjoin Secretary of State Wes Allen from administering the 2024 elections using the new map drafted by the Legislature.