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Alabama’s key case regarding voting rights is taken up by the US Supreme Court

A case involving Alabama redistricting is being heard by the Supreme Court. This could have a profound impact on minority voting rights in the United States.

The justices will hear arguments Tuesday in the latest high court showdown over federal Voting Rights Act lawsuits that seek to force Alabama into creating a second Black majority congressional District. About 27% of Alabamians identify as Black, but they make up a minority in only one of seven state congressional districts.

In February, 5-4 votes were cast by the conservatives in court to block a lower court ruling that would have required another Black majority district to hold the 2022 midterm elections.

Similar rulings to create a new Black majority district in Louisiana were also put on hold.

Conservative high-court majority rulings have made it more difficult for the racial minority to use the Voting Rights Act in ideologically divided rulings from 2013-2021. The new case could result in a ruling in favor of the state, which could undermine another powerful tool civil rights groups have used to challenge racial inequality in redistricting.

There is also a layer of partisan politics. Republicans in Alabama are the dominant party and have resisted creating a second district that has a Democratic-leaning Black majority to send another Democrat into Congress.

The three-judge panel, consisting of two appointees to President Donald Trump, unanimously ruled that Alabama had likely violated the 1965 landmark law by diluting Black voter strength.

Judges found that Alabama had concentrated Black voters in one area, but spread them among the other districts to make it difficult for them to vote for a candidate they like.

Judges found that Alabama’s Black population was large enough and sufficiently compact to allow for a second district.

The state claims that the lower court’s ruling would require it to sort voters based on race. However, it insists that it is adopting a “race-neutral approach” to redistricting.

This argument might resonate with conservative justices including Chief Justice John Roberts. As a Republican presidential lawyer, he opposed any consideration of race in voting.

Tuesday’s arguments were the first Supreme Court case to involve race for Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson and the first Black female justice.

Arguments will be held on Oct. 31 to challenge affirmative action in college admissions.

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