(ReliableNews.org) – A federal court ruled Georgia had to redraw its congressional maps in October. The decision in the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity v. Raffensperger case came after an eight-day trial. Now, a judge appointed by former President Barack Obama has approved the state’s new maps.
On December 28, US District Judge Steve Jones approved the newly redrawn congressional maps. The decision came months after Jones issued the October order mandating the state redraw the maps because they violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. That section of the law requires states to give black people an equal opportunity to elect candidates of their choosing.
The Georgia legislature redrew its maps after the 2020 Census but was accused of diluting black votes around Metro Atlanta. Jones ruled the state had violated the law by not drawing five new black opportunity districts in the state House and two in the state Senate and ordered lawmakers to submit new maps by December 8.
Republican lawmakers created a new majority-black district west of Atlanta by dismantling a nearby district that is made up of mostly minority voters. Critics claimed the state violated Jones’ October ruling by breaking up other minority districts to create a new one. The judge, however, didn’t agree.
The New York Times reported Jones rejected the arguments by Civil Rights groups and ruled the state legislature had “fully complied” with his order by creating a new minority-heavy “district in the region of the state where vote dilution was found.”
The ruling was in just one of three cases brought against the state’s maps. The Republican-controlled legislature redrew them after years of efforts by Democrats to decrease the power the GOP holds in the state. That effort was driven by hundreds of thousands of new black residents moving to the state. In 2020, the state elected a Democrat for president for the first time since 1992, and the next year, two Democrats were elected to represent the state in the US Senate.
The shift in Georgia has been a huge blow to the Republican Party, but with the new maps, they will likely maintain control of the state legislature.
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