Breaking: Alabama Seeks Supreme Court Order Blocking Requirement for State to Create Second Black Majority Congressional District, Queueing Up First Major Test of Voting Rights Act in New Decade of Redistricting

You can find the application at this link. The Supreme Court is likely to first grant a brief administrative stay while it decides what to do on the stay application. It would not be surprising to see the Court set the case for full argument if it grants a stay.

It is notable that that two of the three judges on the unanimous three-judge district court panel were appointed by President Trump.

The application leans heavily on computer simulations of redistricting done by plaintiffs’ experts showing that a second Black-majority district would not have been likely to have been created. In essence, the state is arguing that the African-American population is not compact enough to have drawn a second such district, and that the requirement to do so would create constitutional liability as a racial gerrymander.

This is the first redistricting and race case of the new decade to make it to the Supreme Court. The case has the potential, but not the certainty, to signal where the Supreme Court is now on questions of considerations of race in redistricting, and the reach and constitutionality of Section 2 of the VRA as applied to redistricting.

Update: Alabama has filed a second document here seeking cert. before judgment in what appears to be a related case going to the 11th Circuit. I haven’t followed closely enough to understand the relationship between the two cases. (Update to Update: Marc Elias explains.)

Second update: The Supreme Court has asked for responses by Wednesday.

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