Eleventh Circuit Reverses District Court Holding that Georgia’s At-Large Elections to State Public Service Commission Violates the Voting Rights Act; Ruling If Upheld Would Make It Very Difficult to Challenge Statewide At-Large Systems

Another conservative court reading section 2 of the Voting Rights Act in ever narrower ways. The ruling is here:

The Georgia General Assembly determined that the State’s PSC—a constitutionally created state commission with statewide authority and statewide responsibilities—should be elected statewide. Georgia chose this electoral format to protect critical policy interests and there is no evidence, or allegation, that race was a motivating factor in this decision. On the facts of this case, we conclude that plaintiffs’ novel remedial request fails because Georgia’s chosen form of government for the PSC is afforded protection by federalism and our precedents. In simple terms, plaintiffs have failed to propose a viable remedy and cannot satisfy the first Gingles precondition as we understand it. Because the district court made mistakes of law, we reverse.

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