Two columns on Alabama redistricting, first on how the Supreme Court screwed it up, then how the state legislature stubbornly made it even worse. ….

(July 17)  The Alabama state legislature this week is in a wild special session, trying to fix a mess the United States Supreme Court made of the state’s congressional districts. The high court has wreaked havoc. The state’s citizens, black and white alike, will be worse off because of it.

As described in a Washington Examiner editorial and several expert columns, the court last month in Allen v. Milligan ordered Alabama to re-draw its district lines to create a much better “opportunity” for a second black person to be among the state’s seven-member congressional delegation. The court’s heavy-handed order to racialize redistricting comes despite virtually no change in racial composition from three decades of earlier maps the courts approved with only one black-majority district, and even though Alabama’s recent history shows far less racially polarized voting than in the first 125 years after the Civil War…. [The full column is at this link.]

The district map rejected by the Supreme Court


Alas, by week’s end….. (July 23

MOBILE, AL — Mulish Alabama Republican legislators last week took a bad situation with congressional redistricting and made it worse, not just for their own party and their own people but for constitutional law and race relations nationwide.

The Supreme Court already had made a mess of the state’s districts in a decision columnist George Will aptly described as “being consistent with incoherence.” Emphasizing skin color above other considerations such as economics, culture, and geography, the court essentially ordered the state to create either a second black-majority district among its seven or at least a second one in which black voters have a significant “opportunity” to elect a “candidate of [their] choice.”…

But faced with the Supreme Court’s order, the legislature, in effect, extended a middle finger to the justices in the majority. … Faced with the utter defiance of the legislature, the special master will feel no compulsion to pay the slightest heed to the lawmakers’ desires…. Worse, Mobile County’s unity will be utterly trampled, and all across the state, the message will be sent that skin color, not other community interests, is expected to be the main determinant of voting behavior. …. [The full column is at this link.]



Tags: , , ,