Court Sets Deadline For Redistricting Redo: Ballots & Boundaries

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South Carolina is being ordered to redraw its congressional map after a three-judge federal panel ruled today that Black neighborhoods were intentionally split to dilute minority voting power.

At issue is the coastal 1st District running from Charleston to Hilton Head Island. It was drawn to become a safer seat for Republicans and was won in November by Rep. Nancy Mace (R).

The General Assembly now has until March 31 to present an alternate map to the court for consideration.

Read more details from The Post and Courier and Associated Press.

Federal Court Considers Lawsuit Curbs
A case being argued next week in federal court could undercut the ability to sue over racial gerrymandering.

On the surface, the case before the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit is about whether Arkansas drew congressional lines in a way that puts black voters at a disadvantage. But at its core, the key question is whether the Voting Rights Act allows any “private right of action” to take a racial gerrymandering case to court.

If there’s no private right—as the lower court ruled in February 2022—that would leave enforcement to the Department of Justice, and the discretion of the president. And some presidents may examine the politics and decide that federal prosecutors have other priorities to focus on instead.

Ending the “private right of action” would cut off the bulk of racial gerrymandering suits which groups like the NAACP have brought for decades.

“If the State were correct, hundreds of federal courts—including the Supreme Court at least eleven times—failed to recognize that they lacked jurisdiction to hear any of these cases,” Sophia Lin Lakin, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, said in the voting rights groups’ brief.

A group of Republican attorneys general, led by Ken Paxton of Texas, filed a friend of the court brief arguing that states would rather put resources into voter registration than into fighting voter lawsuits.

“Voter-registration and election-day efforts cost money,” according to the brief. “By siphoning resources away from such worthy causes, private section 2 suits threaten to impair the very goals that the VRA sought to achieve.” Section 2 is the portion of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that permits voters to go to court when they believe a state or local government has limited their voting rights on the basis of their race, color, or language minority.

If the voting groups lose, the decision would be binding in Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. It also would maintain a split in how the federal circuits treat gerrymandering cases, priming a potential US Supreme Court challenge. — Alex Ebert

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Congress ’24

SENATE WATCH: Michigan, Missouri
The first week of the 118th Congress is exactly the right time to talk about who wants to be part of the 119th Congress.

You already knew that Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) has set his sights on becoming governor and that Rep. Alex Mooney (R-W.Va.) is pursuing the Senate seat now held by Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) became the first of her party’s incumbents to step onto the Senate exit ramp, opening an opportunity for, as she put it, “a wonderful generation of leaders.” BGOV’s Greg Giroux has the rundown of who might want to succeed her: Stabenow Retirement Opens Opportunity for Michigan Politicians.

In Missouri, Democrat Lucas Kunce, who lost a Senate primary last year, announced he’s going after the seat of Sen. Josh Hawley (R). Kunce is out today with a campaign video that’s part introduction, part insurrection-themed attack ad.

And beginning with the so-not-routine vote for Speaker, get ready to watch a cadre of ambitious House members come under extra scrutiny. Exhibit A is this morning’s take from Politico: Possible Senate rivals split over McCarthy.

Caught Our Eye

  • Shapiro taps Republican targeted by Trump for top Pennsylvania elections job (CNN)
  • Redistricting battles continue into the new year (Yahoo)


To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Ebert in Madison, Wisconsin at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Katherine Rizzo at; Michaela Ross at

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