Citizens in Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana [complaints, PDF] filed [press release] lawsuits on Tuesday against their respective states for violating Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act [text, PDF] through the drawing of the congressional districts.
The lawsuits request that the congressional maps approved in 2011 be redrawn to strengthen the African American vote, by creating majority-minority congressional districts, allowing African American citizens a legitimate vote for their candidate.
Louisiana’s lawsuit specifically claims that state legislators unlawfully diluted the minority vote by placing African American citizens into one majority-minority district and spreading the rest among the remaining districts. The Alabama lawsuit alleges the same while asserting that the African American population size is large enough to support a second majority-minority district. The Georgia lawsuit claims that legislators redrew the 12th congressional district to remove African American voters and add more White voters to dilute the power of African American’s votes.
Gerrymandering has been the subject of numerous recent lawsuits. In May the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] filed a federal lawsuit [JURIST report] challenging Ohio’s US congressional map as unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering. In the past term, the US Supreme Court has heard two different cases on partisan gerrymandering in both Maryland and Wisconsin [JURIST reports]. In March a federal district court dismissed the lawsuit brought Pennsylvania Republican legislators seeking to throw out the new electrical map [JURIST reports] deigned by the state Supreme Court. That same day, the US Supreme Court [official website] denied a separate appeal from the original Pennsylvania Supreme Court case that resulted in the new congressional map. In February, the US Supreme Court stayed an order [JURIST report] to redraw certain north Carolina congressional districts.