Supreme Court’s Ruling on Redistricting Surprised Many People

Supreme Court's Ruling on Redistricting Surprised Many People

( – In recent years, the Supreme Court has significantly scaled back the Voting Rights Act of 1965. So, when a voting rights issue went before the court this term, there was an expectation that the high court was going to gut the law further. That’s not what happened.

On June 8, the SCOTUS handed down its decision in Allen v. Milligan. The case dealt with the state of Alabama’s congressional redistricting plan in the wake of the 2020 Census. Opponents of the new map argued that lawmakers had packed one district with black voters while dividing others into multiple districts, thereby disenfranchising them. They sued the state, arguing that the new map was a violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits lawmakers from doing anything to discriminate against voters based on their race.

In a 5-4 ruling, the court agreed the map discriminated based on race, reaffirming that lawmakers cannot racially gerrymander. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined the court’s liberals in the ruling. The chief justice wrote the majority opinion for the court and stated that Alabama’s attorneys tried to aggressively rewrite the Voting Rights Act by pushing the map through.

The Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University of Law called the decision an “unexpected boost” after the court has spent a decade “dismantling the law.”

UCLA Law Professor Robert Hasen told NPR that the court’s ruling was “welcome and surprising.” Vox, a left-leaning publication, ran a headline expressing shock: “Surprise! The Supreme Court just handed down a significant victory for voting rights.” Mother Jones, another liberal website, called the ruling a “surprise” and a “rare win.”

The court’s decision upheld the last remaining piece of the Voting Rights Act. It is expected to impact other states across the country and could flip as many as five House seats in the next election.

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