top of page

Remind Me-- Is Alabama A Racist State? How Racist? And What About SCOTUS?

Let's look at 5 states that have similar histories: Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina. Aside from all being slaver/treason states that withdrew from the Union, they are also 5 states that have had very consistent histories of systemic attempts to prevent black citizens from voting. The 1965 Voting rights Act got that under control until a Republican-controlled, racist Supreme Court killed the federal government's ability to protect Black citizens from disenfranchisement. Those states are currently testing the outer limits of a new Jim Crow redistricting. Let's look at their congressional districts one by one.

Alabama's population is 27% Black and the state has 7 districts. Alabama is notoriously "packed" so that black voters have one district where they have a shot to elect someone who will represent them rather than the KKK. 27% of 7 should mean they have shots in 2 districts, not one. Mississippi's population is 37% Black and the state has 4 districts. Again, Black voters are "packed" so that they have one district where they have a shot to elect someone who will represent them rather than the KKK. There really should be a competitive seat in the state; there isn't. South Carolina-- about 27% Black and just one district of 7. Louisiana is a third Black with 6 districts. That would mean a fair distribution would give them 2 opportunities instead of just one. Georgia is doing OK-- 33% black and 5 districts where Black Georgians have a legitimate chance to be represented, although that number may sink to 4 now.

Black voters in Alabama sued, with some help from the NAACP. Today the Supreme Court ruled against a lower court that ordered the KKK-controlled state legislature to redraw the map. It was a 5-4 ruling, with 5 of the 6 Republicans voting against the lower court decision-- Chief Justice Roberts sodding with the 3 Democrats. Reporting for Reuters this afternoon, Andrew Chung wrote that the pro-Klan Court majority-- he didn't call them that for some reason-- "granted an emergency request by Alabama’s Republican Secretary of State John Merrill and two Republican legislators [3 KKK thugs] to put on hold the lower court’s injunctions ordering the state’s Republican-led legislature to redraw the map. The court also said it would take up Alabama’s appeal to decide the case on the merits. Five of the six conservative justices were in the majority, with conservative Chief Justice John Roberts joining the court’s three liberal justices in dissent."

The lower court had found that the KKK map "unlawfully deprived Black voters of an additional House district in which they could be a majority or close to it, likely violating the Voting Rights Act, a landmark 1965 federal law that prohibited racial discrimination in voting... In a written opinion, conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh said the lower court blocked Alabama’s map too close to the 2022 election, contravening Supreme Court precedent. 'Late judicial tinkering with election laws can lead to disruption and to unanticipated and unfair consequences for candidates, political parties and voters, among others,' Kavanaugh wrote. Liberal Justice Elena Kagan called the decision 'badly wrong' and, referring to the Voting Rights Act, said the high court’s action 'forces Black Alabamians to suffer what under that law is clear vote dilution.' Her dissent was joined by fellow liberal Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. 'Alabama is not entitled to keep violating Black Alabamians’ voting rights just because the court’s order came down in the first month of an election year,' Kagan added... The three-judge lower court panel, which included two appointed by Republican former President Donald Trump and one by Democratic former President Bill Clinton, unanimously blocked the map, saying that voting in Alabama is 'polarized along racial lines' and that the white majority votes sufficiently as a bloc to defeat Black voters’ preferred candidates."

Kagan wrote that the conservative justices' Jim Crow decision "does a disservice to the District Court, which meticulously applied this Court’s longstanding voting-rights precedent. And most of all, it does a disservice to Black Alabamians who under that precedent have had their electoral power diminished-- in violation of a law this Court once knew to buttress all of American democracy."

Meanwhile, the Ohio Supreme Court, rejected the GOP state legislative gerrymander again. It was the second time Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor, a Republican, voted with the 3 Democratic justices to reject the maps approved by the state legislature and which gave Republicans an unfair advantage. Over the past decades Republicans have won 54% of the voted to the Democrats' 46% and the court would like to maps to be more reflective of that-- as the state Constitution requires... and told the legislature to get it done in less than 2 weeks.

by Ed Ruscha, Courtney of Kopeikin Gallery

bottom of page