A federal district court on Monday denied the Alabama Secretary of State’s emergency motion to allow Alabama to hold elections with congressional maps which have been called “racially gerrymandered.”
Alabama’s Secretary of State Wes Allen made an emergency motion for stay pending a direct appeal to the US Supreme Court. In denying the emergency motion, the three judge panel found “there is no emergency.” The panel also claimed “it is exceptionally unusual for a litigant who has presented his arguments to the Supreme Court once already — and lost — to assert that he is now ‘overwhelmingly likely’ to prevail on those same arguments in that Court.”
Allen v. Milligan began in November 2021. Plaintiffs filed the suit claiming the Alabama legislature drew the state’s congressional maps in a way which was racially gerrymandered. The map, most recently Livingston 3, contains only one majority-Black district, District 7. The US Census Bureau estimates that Black residents comprise nearly 27 percent of Alabama’s population, but the maps at issue “pack” most of the states Black population into one of Alabama’s seven congressional districts.
The case made its way to the US Supreme Court, who found the plaintiffs were likely to succeed, and that Alabama’s proposed map likely violates Section Two of the Voting Rights Act. In July 2023, Alabama approved a congressional map which still only contained one majority-Black district, in defiance of the Supreme Court’s order. Last week, a three judge panel enjoined Alabama from conducting elections with the proposed congressional map finding the current map “dilutes the votes of Black Alabamians” and still likely violates Section Two of the Voting Rights Act.
The panel appointed Richard Allen as a Special Master to oversee the drawing of new maps along with an experienced redistricting team. According to the panel’s order instructing the special master, [Richard] Allen will produce three proposed congressional maps by September 25.