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Singleton plaintiffs argue State’s map is racially gerrymandered

The Singleton plaintiffs had their day in court Tuesday, arguing that the state’s map committed racial gerrymandering.

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Milligan v. Allen gained most of the national attention Monday as it is the landmark case that overturned Alabama’s previous Congressional map for a likely violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

But it wasn’t the last hearing challenging the new proposed remedial map enacted by the Legislature in a special session last month.

The Singleton plaintiffs had their day in court Tuesday, arguing that the state’s map committed racial gerrymandering by splitting black and white voters in Jefferson County.

James Blacksher, counsel for the Singleton plaintiffs, told APR Monday that the split began in 1992 as part of a “court-ordered settlement to create one majority Black district.”

But that law has changed, Blacksher said, and argued the state has “lost its excuse for continuing to split Black and white voters in Jefferson County.”

“The state now contends that it should continue to maintain the split just because they’ve been doing it for so long,” Blacksher said.

The plaintiffs are seeking for the court to enjoin the 2023 map, preventing it from being used in the 2024 election cycle, as well as ordering any new map to keep Jefferson County whole. That plan was promoted by State senators Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, and Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham, who are plaintiffs in the case.

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Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, shared a Twitter thread by independent journalist Kareem Crayton Tuesday breaking down the court case.

“There are more problems with this case than I can discuss here, but let’s focus on two legal flaws,” Crayton tweeted. “First, their definition of racial gerrymandering is wrong. Like the (Republicans), this group believes any line showing any attention to race violates the (14th amendment). This is wrong. First, CD7 has NEVER been declared a racial gerrymander. The plaintiffs may believe it and the state may even concede it, but that does not make it true. They cite no legal authority on the matter bc no court has found this.

“Second, any line on a map produces racial effects. And they aren’t per se gerrymanders. If i take a district line to include all of Birmingham (more than 60 percent black) but little else in Jefferson County, I’d be drawing a line (with) some clear racial effects. But that’s ‘legal.'”

Blacksher said the court findings will be in on Monday and that the court is working “on an expedited timeline.”

Meanwhile, findings will be in by the end of the week in Milligan v. Allen.

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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