Today, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of South Carolina, Boroughs Bryant LLC, Arnold & Porter, and General Counsel’s Office of the NAACP filed a second amended complaint, adding claims to challenge the recently enacted congressional map for South Carolina’s seven congressional districts. The congressional map was passed by the Legislature and enacted into law on January 26, 2022. The South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP and Taiwan Scott, who are the plaintiffs in this case, allege that South Carolina’s new congressional map discriminates against Black communities and denies Black voters’ equal opportunity to participate in the political process and elect candidates of their choice.
This new filing amends the existing lawsuit to reflect the belated passage late last month of Senate Bill 865 (S.B. 865), which, like its counterpart in the House, adopted a racially gerrymandered map—this time for Congress, that intentionally cracks and packs Black communities. S.B. 865 shuffles voters into electoral districts based on their race in order to prevent Black voters from impacting more than one congressional election statewide.
The complaint adds claims to a pending federal lawsuit, South Carolina Conference of the NAACP v. McMaster, et al, challenging South Carolina’s House map. The House plan is scheduled to begin trial in late February 2022.
Read the full complaint here.
The following comments are from:
Leah Aden, LDF’s Deputy Director of Litigation, remarked: “South Carolina’s legislative map is an exemplar of greed and racial injustice. The map works hard to create the appearance of maintaining one lone district serving Black voters, while denying Black voters any meaningful voice in the other six congressional districts. The majority seizes control of six of the seven congressional districts. This stratagem flies in the face of the state’s demographics, in which Black voters are nearly 30% of the population, and the public appeals during the legislative session to adopt a fair and non-racially dilutive map that were ignored by elected officials. The Constitution of the United States entitles Black voters in South Carolina to electoral representation that is not diluted by racially motivated legislative bodies.”
John S. Cusick, LDF Assistant Counsel said: “South Carolina lawmakers have once again evaded their constitutional duties by enacting a congressional map that is designed to minimize Black South Carolinians’ voting power. To do so, they passed S. 865 in a rushed and non-transparent process, de-prioritizing input from Black residents and ignoring alternative maps that respected the U.S. Constitution. The message is clear: South Carolina must remedy these violations and pass a fair and non-discriminatory congressional map.”
Antonio L. Ingram II, LDF Assistant Counsel said: “South Carolina has attempted to suppress the political participation of its Black community consistently throughout the history of the state. Elected officials have endeavored to curtail the suffrage of Black voters in South Carolina in every redistricting cycle since Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The current congressional map enacted by a majority white legislative body continues this shameful legacy of Black vote dilution. This lawsuit seeks to challenge attempts by legislators to politically marginalize the voice of Black voters in South Carolina.”
President Brenda Murphy, South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP said: “The recently adopted congressional map denies Black South Carolinians political representation at the federal level. The maps represent an attempt to prevent Black communities from electing congressional representatives who would be responsive to their needs. We must fight against all efforts to disenfranchise Black voters in South Carolina, and we must work to ensure that Black voters are given fair and equal representation in the halls of the nation’s capital.
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Follow LDF on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.