Comment on U.S. Supreme Court Ruling in Alabama Redistricting Case

February 7, 2022 1:00 pm

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court today granted Alabama’s bid to temporarily halt a district court ruling that had required the state to redraw its new congressional map to comply with the Voting Rights Act.

On January 24, a unanimous three-judge court blocked Alabama’s newly drawn congressional map, ordering the state Legislature to draft a new congressional map that complies with the Voting Rights Act by including two districts where Black voters have the opportunity to elect candidates of their choice.

The Supreme Court’s action temporarily blocks the ruling from taking effect as the case is litigated. The Supreme Court’s action temporarily blocks the ruling from taking effect as the case is litigated. Chief Justice Roberts dissented from the stay, as did Justices Kagan, Sotomayor, and Breyer.

The lawsuit challenging the map was brought by Evan Milligan, Khadidah Stone, Letitia Jackson, Shalela Dowdy, Greater Birmingham Ministries, and the Alabama State Conference of the NAACP, who are represented by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Alabama, Hogan Lovells LLP, and Wiggins, Childs, Pantazis, Fisher & Goldfarb.

The following is reaction to today’s Supreme Court ruling:

Plaintiff Evan Milligan: “We are disappointed by today’s decision. The fight for fair representation for Black voters in Alabama has been a winding road, generations long. However, during a month set aside to honor Black American history, we are reminded of the strength and dignity displayed by our ancestors who routinely confronted a wide variety of disappointments. We won’t dishonor their legacy by putting down the torch they have handed to us. We will continue striving to ensure that our Legislature honors the Voting Rights Act and that Black Alabamians have an opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice. We will continue working so that Black children feel safe making informed choices about who they want to be, and that most Alabamians embrace the connection of their own personal liberties to the fullest freedom of those Black children.”

Tish Gotell Faulks, legal director, ACLU of Alabama: “The people of Alabama shouldn’t have to vote on a map in 2022 that we know is unfair, but we look forward to vindicating our claims at trial as the case continues in federal court.”

Davin Rosborough, senior staff attorney, ACLU’s Voting Rights Project: “This ruling is just a temporary step. Our challenge to Alabama’s racially discriminatory congressional map will continue as we fight to ensure Black Alabamians have fair opportunities to elect candidates of their choosing.”

Deuel Ross, LDF senior counsel: “The Supreme Court’s decision to intervene is disheartening, but the facts are clear: Alabama’s current congressional map violates the Voting Rights Act. The litigation will continue, and we are confident that Black Alabamians will eventually have the congressional map they deserve — one that fairly represents all voters.”

Jessica Ellsworth, partner, Hogan Lovell LLP: “We are disappointed about the Supreme Court’s ruling. The three-judge panel meticulously applied existing Supreme Court precedent dating back decades to determine that Alabama’s hastily enacted plan was likely infirm. This litigation remains far from over, and we will continue our efforts to ensure that Alabama complies with the Voting Rights Act and does not disenfranchise Black voters.”


Case details:

Milligan v. Merrill is part of the ACLU’s Joan and Irwin Jacobs Supreme Court Docket.

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