Black Voters in South Carolina Urge U.S. Supreme Court to Deny Stay in Racial Gerrymandering Case

State Has Asked to Use Discriminatory Congressional Map in 2024

March 25, 2024 12:00 pm

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WASHINGTON — South Carolina should not be able to hold elections using racially gerrymandered congressional districts in this year’s elections, according to a response filed Monday in the case Alexander v. South Carolina Conference of the NAACP.

Voters in South Carolina are awaiting a decision from the nation’s highest court in the case. With South Carolina’s non-presidential primary elections scheduled for June 11, the state of South Carolina asked for a stay March 18 in the case to use a Congressional voting map that a lower court found unconstitutional for undermining the rights of Black voters. It would be the second time this map would be in place for congressional elections since its enactment in 2022.

Attorneys with the Legal Defense Fund, American Civil Liberties Union, and ACLU of South Carolina, who are representing the South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP and individual plaintiff Taiwan Scott, filed a response Monday urging the Court to deny the stay and not reward the State for its delay and failure to draw an alternative map. They also demonstrated that ample time still remains for the Legislature to enact a new map this year.

The response can be found here.

“The NAACP has worked fervently, for decades, to protect access to the ballot for Black Americans and will not stand idly by as the rights of thousands of South Carolinians are overlooked,” said Brenda Murphy, president of the South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP. “Our state legislature must prioritize the integrity of our democracy by enacting a new map created in fairness for all voters. We cannot allow the voices of our residents to be silenced in these crucial election cycles.”

“Granting a stay to utilize racially gerrymandered districts in South Carolina’s elections would not only undermine the rights of Black voters but also perpetuate systemic injustice,” said individual plaintiff Taiwan Scott. “We cannot allow delay tactics to impede progress towards fair and equitable representation in our democracy.”

Background: The U.S. Supreme Court case comes after the South Carolina legislature adopted a racially gerrymandered congressional map in 2022 that moved hundreds of thousands of South Carolinians to different congressional districts, including moving more than two-thirds of Black Charlestonians out of that one county.

A panel of three federal judges unanimously ruled in January 2023 that the South Carolina General Assembly had drawn Congressional District 1, anchored in Charleston and coastal South Carolina, was an unconstitutional racial gerrymander drawn with a discriminatory purpose. The South Carolina legislature appealed that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, and oral arguments in the case were heard on Oct. 11, 2023.

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