The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of black Alabama voters in an important redistricting case. The decision for Allen v. Milligan was decided on Thursday, June 8th. The conservative majority Supreme Court surprisingly sided with black voters, who believed that Alabama’s state government was gerrymandering and violating the Voting Rights Act.
Gerrymandering is when politicians redraw electoral districts to help one political party gain more votes. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 made discriminatory voting practices illegal, especially ones that targeted black voters in southern states.
It was determined that Alabama had split up its districts in such a way as to increase the number of majority-white congressional districts. As a result, only one black-majority district exists, despite Alabama being 26% black.
The Supreme Court concluded that black people’s voting power was being reduced. This lack of fair representation violates the Voting Rights Act. Back in October, Alabama defended itself by saying its redistricting approach was race-neutral, but this defense was rejected.
The 5-4 ruling means that Alabama’s congressional district map will be redrawn in such a way that each district’s racial demographics are accurate. To make up for the past violations, a new district with a considerable black population will be made official by next year’s election.