Federal court chooses new Alabama congressional districts map after gerrymandering challenge News
Slowking4, GFDL 1.2, via Wikimedia Commons
Federal court chooses new Alabama congressional districts map after gerrymandering challenge

A three-judge panel in Alabama chose a new congressional district map on Thursday in response to a lawsuit arguing that the Alabama legislature’s congressional map was racially gerrymandered. The decision comes only a few weeks after the US Supreme Court rejected a petition from the state government, which sought to appeal a court order prohibiting the use of gerrymandered congressional maps in Alabama elections.

In September, the federal court overseeing the case appointed a special master to solicit plans and comments from the parties in the case and the public. After this, the special master provided three remedial plans to replace the original, gerrymandered plan the court enjoined. After the court held hearings on the plans, it found that “Remedial Plan 3” satisfied “all constitutional and statutory requirements.” The court noted that Remedial Plan 3 “Completely Remedies the Vote Dilution We Found While Best Preserving the State’s Legislative Preferences Expressed Through the 2023 Plan.” The new map is attached to the court order as “Exhibit A.”

The court ordered the Alabama Secretary of State to administer Alabama’s upcoming upcoming congressional elections according to Remedial Plan 3. In response to today’s decision, Alabama Secretary of State Wes Allen stated:

The Office of the Secretary of State will facilitate the 2024 election cycle in accordance with the map the federal court has forced upon Alabama and ordered us to use. It is important for all Alabamians to know that the legal portion of this process has not yet been completed. A full hearing on the redistricting issue will take place in the future and I trust Attorney General Marshall to represent Alabama through that process. In the meantime, I will keep our state’s elections safe, secure and transparent because that is what I was elected to do.

The case, Allen v. Milligan, first began in November 2021. The plaintiffs claimed the Alabama legislature drew the state’s congressional maps in a way that racially gerrymandered. In June, after the district court enjoined the Alabama Secretary of State from using the original map, the case made its way to the US Supreme Court. There, the court found that the plaintiffs were likely to succeed and that Alabama’s proposed map likely violated Section Two of the Voting Rights Act. In September, the US Supreme Court also denied Alabama’s appeal of a court order prohibiting elections with gerrymandered congressional maps.