Alabama filed an emergency application in the Supreme Court on Monday evening, asking the justices to keep in place for now a congressional map that a lower court had found failed to comply with orders to establish a second majority-Black district or something “close to it.”
The application means that the court is again poised to consider the role of race in establishing voting districts for federal elections, three months after the justices, in a surprise ruling, rejected an earlier iteration of the map that they said had diluted the power of Black voters.
The request for emergency relief came in response to a ruling from a three-judge panel, which found that the Republican-controlled Legislature had most likely violated a landmark civil rights law because it had not drawn a second district aimed at allowing Black voters the chance to elect representatives. Instead, over the objections of Democrats, the Legislature approved a map that increased the percentage of Black voters in one of the state’s six majority-white congressional districts to about 40 percent, from roughly 30 percent….
In seeking emergency relief as an appeal moves forward, Alabama’s attorney general, Steve Marshall, acknowledged that the Legislature had not added a second majority-Black district to its map as dictated by the federal court, but said its new map still complied with the law.