Today, LDF and Allen v. Milligan plaintiffs submitted a remedial redistricting plan following the Supreme Court’s decision in Milligan. In affirming the three-judge district court’s preliminary injunction against HB1, the Supreme Court upheld the district court’s findings that “Black Alabamians enjoy virtually zero success in statewide elections; that political campaigns in Alabama had been characterized by overt or subtle racial appeals; and that Alabama’s extensive history of repugnant racial and voting-related discrimination is undeniable and well documented.” The Court also held that the district court had “faithfully applied our precedents and correctly determined that . . . HB1 violated §2.” The Supreme Court also affirmed the findings that “elections in Alabama were racially polarized”; “on average, Black voters supported their candidates of choice with 92.3% of the vote while white voters supported Black-preferred candidates with 15.4% of the vote”; and, according to all the trial experts, racial polarization in Alabama is “intense, very strong, and very clear.” Given the extreme degree of racially polarized voting in Alabama, the trial court’s preliminary injunction order, which was upheld by the Supreme Court, emphasized the “practical reality” that “any remedial plan will need to include two districts in which Black voters either comprise a voting-age majority or something quite close to it.”4 For this reason, any plan that proposes remedial districts in which Black voters constitute less than “a voting-age majority or something quite close to it” almost certainly will not conform to the district court’s order.
The VRA Plaintiffs’ Remedial Plan carefully adheres to the decisions of both the United States Supreme Court and the federal district court. The VRA Plan contains two districts that “perform” consistently for Black voters in primary and general elections.6 It also remedies the cracking of the Black Belt community of interest, identified by the courts, by keeping the eighteen “core” Black Belt counties together within these two remedial districts, does not split Montgomery County or any other core Black Belt county, has zero population deviation, splits only seven counties and only ten precincts, and is otherwise “guided by the legislative policies underlying [HB1] to the extent those policies do not lead to violations of the Constitution or the Voting Rights Act.” For instance, Districts 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 largely maintain the “cores” of those districts as drawn by the Legislature in HB1, and Districts 1 and 2 reflect modest changes necessary to bring Alabama into compliance with the VRA. Indeed, the overall “core retention” percentage of the VRA Plaintiffs’ Remedial Plan is over 80%. In further deference to the Legislature’s past policy choices, the VRA Plan splits Jefferson County in essentially the same manner as HB1 and it splits Mobile County similar to the way in which the Legislature did so in its enacted 2021 State Board of Education plan. Finally, the VRA Plaintiffs’ Remedial Plan is based on the Plaintiffs’ illustrative plans—including “Cooper Illustrative Plan 2” and “Duchin Illustrative Plan A,” which the Supreme Court identified as legally acceptable remedies—but makes specific changes to better reflect legislative choices like limiting the number of county splits and protecting district cores.
Read the full letter and plan here.