(Official Washington Examiner editorial, June 11)  Chief Justice John Roberts famously wrote in a 2006 political redistricting case that “it is a sordid business, this divvying us up by race.” In a landmark redistricting decision on June 8, Roberts engaged in exactly this sordid business.

Because of Roberts’s 5-4 decision in Allen v. MilliganAlabama, race relations, and constitutional law all may fundamentally be harmed.

Against separate, spirited dissents from Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, who were joined in whole or part by Justices Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett, the Supreme Court majority invalidated Alabama’s congressional district maps, essentially ordering the state to produce two “black-majority” districts among its seven. Roberts, with the increasingly liberal Brett Kavanaugh and the court’s three Democratic-appointed justices, twisted logic with stunning degrees of sophistry to pretend that their decision does not contradict both statutory and constitutional restrictions against apportioning districts on the basis of racial “proportion in the population.”

For decades, the black percentage of Alabama’s population has remained within a 2-point range, 25.2% to 27.2%. For decades the courts have approved district lines with only one majority-black territory. Now it says what was legal for each of the prior decades is no longer legal, even though no applicable law has changed in the interim. Where’s the logic?

As Thomas noted, Alabama’s population distribution is such that the only way to create a second black-majority congressional district is to abandon race-neutral principles and make race the predominant “precondition” for figuring out where to draw district lines. In contradiction to Roberts’s statement of principle in 2006, Thomas wrote, the new decision improperly and perniciously “puts federal courts in the business of methodically carving the country into racially designated electoral districts.”

In practice, as Thomas opined with devastating effect, the decision will violate both a long-standing principle of redistricting and the specific, tangible, historic existence of a unique community of interest composed of Alabama’s two coastal counties, Mobile and Baldwin. …. [The full column is at this link.]


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