On Thursday, a federal court chose the new congressional map that Alabama would have to implement in 2024. “Remedial Plan 3” according to the court, met all the constitutional requirements and remained close to the Alabama Legislature’s July plan.
Many lawmakers, state officials and partisans released statements with their reaction to the court’s decision. Some praise the decision, while others denounce the new map. Those reactions are compiled below:
Plaintiffs in Milligan v. Allen – “Today’s order marks a momentous step forward for us. Thousands of Black voters throughout the Black Belt, for the first time, will be able to elect their candidates of choice in two opportunity districts. This is an unequivocal win that will translate to increased opportunities for those who have too long been denied the fair representation they deserve. Though a long, hard-fought battle, we are grateful to have achieved this key measure and look forward to building a better future for Alabama voters.”
Secretary of State Wes Allen – “The Office of the Secretary of State will facilitate the 2024 election cycle in accordance with the map the federal court has forced upon Alabama and ordered us to use.
It is important for all Alabamians to know that the legal portion of this process has not yet been completed. A full hearing on the redistricting issue will take place in the future and I trust Attorney General Marshall to represent Alabama through that process. In the meantime, I will keep our state’s elections safe, secure and transparent because that is what I was elected to do.”
Attorney General Steve Marshall – “The Voting Rights Act was enacted to undo gerrymanders, not create them. But ironically, the Act has now been used to separate what plaintiffs call “Black Mobile” from the rest of Mobile, and then join “Black Mobile” with Phenix City, roughly 250 miles away. Anyone who looks at the State’s map next to the map now imposed on the State can tell which is the racial gerrymander. That map violates the Constitution’s guarantee of equality for all. We will abide by the court’s order for the 2024 election, and we will continue to defend the State’s law in court for future elections.”
Alabama Democratic Party – “With the adoption of a fair congressional map, the new opportunity district provides Black voters with a realistic chance to elect a representative of their choice. The Alabama Democratic Party celebrates that the Voting Rights Act has been upheld.”
Alabama Republican Party – “While we continue to have the utmost respect for the legal process, we are disappointed with the decision the District Court has reached. Of the three maps, the Court chose the map that is the most Democratic – not the map with the highest minority voting age population. We are hopeful Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall will continue with the appeal process. We believe Alabama’s Congressional Districts should represent the communities of our state, and not be based on the liberal Democrat agenda or the color of people’s skin.”
Congresswoman Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Selma, – “After numerous hearings, three Supreme Court rulings, and unprecedented defiance by state officials, the voters of Alabama finally have a fair congressional map! While we celebrate this historic victory, the continued resistance that we face from state officials should not be lost on anyone. This long and arduous battle over Alabama’s congressional map serves as a solemn reminder that efforts to deny fair representation to Black and minority voters are still alive and well. Now more than ever, we must restore the FULL protections of the Voting Rights Act. We need the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and we need it now.”
Alabama House Minority Leader Rep. Anthony Daniels, D-Huntsville, – ”This is a tremendous win for Alabama voters and, as I and my colleagues have said all along, fair elections begin with fair maps. Although we can look at today as a landmark and historic victory, we must continue to safeguard and protect our right to vote. Today, the Court sent a clear message- Your vote is your voice and your voice matters.”
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder – “In spite of the shameful intransigence of Alabama Republicans, justice has finally prevailed in the state. With this new, fairer map, and for the first time ever, Black voters in Alabama could have two members of Congress representing their interests at the same time. This historic development will strengthen voting rights and ensure equal representation for so many Americans. Other states with pending Section 2 cases should view this map, and this process, as both an example of basic fairness and a warning that denying equal representation to Black voters, violating the Voting Rights Act, and defying federal court orders is a direct tie to an odious past and will no longer be tolerated.”
Executive Director of the ACLU of Alabama, JaTaune Bosby Gilchrist – “Today’s order means for the first time, Black voters in two congressional districts will have an opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice. It is unfortunate that federal courts were forced to put in place a congressional map that state lawmakers refused to admit is the right thing to do, but we are thankful for their intervention. Our democracy is strongest when we make it possible for every vote to be counted. Putting in place fair voting maps moves us closer to that reality.”