Supreme Court Kicks Republicans To the Curb

Photo by Adam Szuscik on Unsplash

In a recent Supreme Court ruling, two conservative justices joined their liberal counterparts in a decision that handed President Joe Biden a significant victory. The case in question, Allen v. Milligan, mandated Alabama to redraw congressional districts that were initially established by Republicans in 2021. President Biden and civil rights activists had contended that these district maps unfairly discriminated against Black voters.

The central argument against the current congressional map is that out of Alabama’s seven districts, only one has a Black majority, despite Black individuals constituting 27 percent of the state’s population. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, both conservative justices, aligned themselves with the Court’s liberal members, including Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Ketanji Brown Jackson. Their collective decision upheld the lower court’s ruling, which found that the Republican-drawn map violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act—a landmark legislation prohibiting racial discrimination in voting.

During a visit to Selma in March, President Biden spoke about the assault on voting rights in Alabama. He specifically criticized the newly implemented congressional map, stating that it discriminated against Black voters by failing to include a predominantly Black district. The President emphasized the significance of voting rights, highlighting that they serve as the foundation of democracy and liberty. He expressed concerns about the ongoing assault on this fundamental right.

In opposition to the majority ruling, conservative Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justice Neil Gorsuch, wrote a dissenting opinion. Thomas argued for a resolution that would not require the Federal Judiciary to determine the racial apportionment of Alabama’s congressional seats. He contended that using any benchmark other than a race-neutral one would perpetuate a circular reasoning, enabling courts to conclude that a districting plan dilutes the voting strength of minorities solely based on racial terms already defined.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland lauded the Supreme Court’s decision, asserting that it rejects attempts to undermine vital voting rights protections. Garland emphasized the principle that all eligible voters in the United States must be able to exercise their constitutional right to vote without facing discrimination based on race.

This ruling was hailed as a significant triumph against the continuous assault on voting rights. It exposed Alabama’s attempt to circumvent federal law by disregarding race as a factor in the redistricting process, even when necessary to rectify racial discrimination. Given the state’s history of persistent racial discrimination, the consideration of race becomes essential to ensure that communities of color are not marginalized in the electoral process, as highlighted by those who supported the decision.