The U.S. Supreme Court Monday blocked a lower court order requiring Alabama to redraw its congressional map. The high court voted 5-4 to stay a ruling issued by a lower federal court, which ordered the state to draw a second black majority district. Justices Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh wrote that the lower court order would create chaos by forcing new district lines to be drawn so close to the election. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the three liberal justices in dissent. The order means the elections will proceed with district lines drawn by the Republican-led Legislature.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall led the successful appeal to the Supreme Court, and issued the following statement:
“I’m gratified that the Supreme Court has stepped in to halt the district court’s order, which would have resulted in a congressional map that would have unconstitutionally divided Alabamians based on race. As we have explained throughout this litigation, Alabama’s 2021 plan is an ordinary plan that looks much like the plan approved by a federal court in 1992, the plan approved by a majority-Democratic legislature in 2001, and the plan approved by a majority-Republican legislature in 2011. Plaintiffs demand a significant overhaul to the map to create a second majority-black district, but their own experts showed that no such map could be drawn unless traditional race-neutral principles took a back seat to voters’ race. Indeed, one expert used her algorithm to draw 2 million random versions of Alabama’s map based on race-neutral principles and not a single one had two majority-black districts. That is why each of the plans proposed by Plaintiffs would split Mobile County for the first time ever, to join voters in Mobile with voters as far away as Phenix City based on race, all while dividing long-recognized communities centered on the Gulf Coast’s unique economy and culture.
“Today, the Supreme Court ensured that such a result will not befall the State this year. We will now have the chance to further brief the case and argue it to the Supreme Court, and we’re confident we will ultimately prevail.”