The U.S. Supreme Court today granted Alabama’s bid to temporarily halt a district court ruling that had required the state to redraw its new congressional map to comply with the Voting Rights Act.
On January 24, a unanimous three-judge court blocked Alabama’s newly drawn congressional map, ordering the state Legislature to draft a new congressional map that complies with the Voting Rights Act by including two districts where Black voters have the opportunity to elect candidates of their choice.
The Supreme Court’s action temporarily blocks the ruling from taking effect as the case is litigated. Chief Justice Roberts dissented from the stay, as did Justices Kagan, Sotomayor, and Breyer.
The lawsuit challenging the map was brought by Evan Milligan, Khadidah Stone, Letitia Jackson, Shalela Dowdy, Greater Birmingham Ministries, and the Alabama State Conference of the NAACP, who are represented by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Alabama, Hogan Lovells LLP, and Wiggins, Childs, Pantazis, Fisher & Goldfarb.
The following is reaction to today’s Supreme Court ruling:
Plaintiff Evan Milligan: “We are disappointed by today’s decision. The fight for fair representation for Black voters in Alabama has been a winding road, generations long. However, during a month set aside to honor Black American history, we are reminded of the strength and dignity displayed by our ancestors who routinely confronted a wide variety of disappointments. We won’t dishonor their legacy by putting down the torch they have handed to us. We will continue striving to ensure that our Legislature honors the Voting Rights Act and that Black Alabamians have an opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice. We will continue working so that Black children feel safe making informed choices about who they want to be, and that most Alabamians embrace the connection of their own personal liberties to the fullest freedom of those Black children.”
Deuel Ross, LDF senior counsel: “The Supreme Court’s decision to intervene is disheartening, but the facts are clear: Alabama’s current congressional map violates the Voting Rights Act. The litigation will continue, and we are confident that Black Alabamians will eventually have the congressional map they deserve — one that fairly represents all voters.”
Tish Gotell Faulks, legal director, ACLU of Alabama: “The people of Alabama shouldn’t have to vote on a map in 2022 that we know is unfair, but we look forward to vindicating our claims at trial as the case continues in federal court.”
Davin Rosborough, senior staff attorney, ACLU’s Voting Rights Project: “This ruling is just a temporary step. Our challenge to Alabama’s racially discriminatory congressional map will continue as we fight to ensure Black Alabamians have fair opportunities to elect candidates of their choosing.”
Jessica Ellsworth, partner, Hogan Lovell LLP: “We are disappointed about the Supreme court’s ruling. The three-judge panel meticulously applied existing Supreme Court precedent dating back decades to determine that Alabama’s hastily enacted plan was likely infirm. This litigation remains far from over, and we will continue our efforts to ensure that Alabama complies with the Voting Rights Act and does not disenfranchise Black voters.”
Ella Wiley, LDF, 212-965-2200, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rebecca Seung-Bickley, ACLU of Alabama, 334-561-3829, email@example.com
Inga Sarda-Sorensen, ACLU National, 347-514-3984, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ritcheyna Dodd, Hogan Lovells LLP, email@example.com
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 multidisciplinary 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.