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Reactions to the Supreme Court’s Alabama congressional map decision

“It has been a long and frustrating battle holding the Alabama legislature accountable, but today it is a rewarding one,” the plaintiffs said.

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Tuesday morning, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order rejecting Alabama’s request for stay to freeze a district court’s recent decision in the Allen v. Milligan remedial process.

In a press release following the decision, the Milligan plaintiffs made a collective statement:

“It has been a long and frustrating battle holding the Alabama Legislature accountable, but today it is a rewarding one,” the plaintiffs said. “Even after the highest court in the land sided with Black voters in June, our elected officials still chose power over people by outright defying multiple court orders, and the loud cries of their constituents to do the right thing. Despite these shameful efforts, the Supreme Court has once again agreed that Black Alabamians deserve a second opportunity district. This additional representation in Congress will undoubtedly change lives, especially for the hundreds of thousands of Alabamians residing in the Black Belt who suffer from lack of healthcare access, job opportunities, and crumbling infrastructure. We look forward to a new era in our state’s history, in which power is shared and Black voices are heard.”

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall released this statement after the decision: 

“My Fellow Alabamians,

“Today, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Alabama’s request for emergency relief in the state’s redistricting case. The State will now be encumbered with a racially gerrymandered, court-drawn map for the 2024 election cycle.

“The Alabama Legislature passed a fair and reasonable map in 2021 that mirrored what multiple federal courts had blessed in years past. When the U.S. Supreme Court held the map likely had discriminatory effects, the legislature went back to the drawing board and settled on a map that took out the purported discrimination and applied neutral principles fully and fairly. It is now clear that none of the maps proposed by Republican supermajorities had any chance of success. Treating voters as individuals would not do. Instead, our elected representatives and our voters must apparently be reduced to skin color alone. No Alabamian—black, white, Republican, or Democrat—can look at the court-drawn maps that will soon be imposed on us and see anything other than the prioritization of race above all else. Our communities, local economies, and basic geography will be cast aside in the radical pursuit of racial quotas. There simply is no other explanation for the absurd disfigurement.

“There should be nothing more offensive to the people of our great state than to be sidelined in 2023 by a view of Alabama that is stuck in 1963. This racial agenda is pressed by left-wing activists, not just in Alabama, but in any Republican state where it might advantage Democrats. If this brazen and divisive commandeering is permitted without even a whisper of concern from other quarters, America’s congressional elections as we know them will never be the same. We will be grouped together by race alone, with counties and cities split down the middle—the same way that we were so wrongfully segregated once before.

“My Office will continue our fight to defend the 2023 map, which was enacted by the people’s representatives, and which complies with both the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution’s promise that governments should be colorblind. We will comply with the district court’s preliminary injunction order, while building our case for the 2023 map, which has yet to receive a full hearing. We are confident that the Voting Rights Act does not require, and the Constitution does not allow, “separate but equal” congressional districts.”

U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Selma, posted on X celebrating the decision by saying: 

“Another BIG win for Alabama’s Black voters!!!”

Rep. Phillip Ensler, D-Montgomery, posted on X stating:

“Once again the United States Supreme Court has told Alabama what our caucus and advocates have been saying over and over again: that the legislature must follow the Voting Rights Act.

“My prayer is that the state learn from history and stop stomping on the rights of Black and minority residents. Let’s move forward to solutions on real issues like gun violence, health care, economic opportunities, and more.”

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder commented on the decision with the following statement: 

“This is a victory for all Americans, particularly voters of color, who have fought tirelessly for equal representation as citizens of this nation. Even with this Court’s landmark decision to uphold Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, Alabama Republicans have defied court orders at every turn by refusing to enact a map that gives Black Alabamians the opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice in two districts. These shameful, odious efforts to diminish the rightful voting power of Black Alabamians have finally been defeated. As a result, we will see more representative maps in places that were once thought to be unreachable in the fight for fairness: Alabama, Louisiana, and Georgia. Justice has prevailed.”

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

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