(Updates with Holder comment in the third paragraph.)
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Democrats are on track to gain a US House seat in the 2024 election now that the US Supreme Court has rejected Alabama’s latest bid to reinstate a Republican-drawn map.
Every option now under consideration for different Alabama district lines would put two incumbent Republicans in the same seat and give Democrats the upper hand in a newly drawn district.
“This is a victory for all Americans, particularly voters of color, who have fought tirelessly for equal representation as citizens of this nation,” Eric Holder, a former US attorney general who’s chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, said in a statement.
The high court on Tuesday reinforced its June 8 ruling against the state in the Voting Rights Act clash, one of multiple court cases playing out following challenges to political boundaries following once-a-decade redistricting.
Another of the cases that will help decide which political party has the upper hand in the 2024 races went to trial on Tuesday in Florida, where challengers argue that district lines pushed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) “committed intentional racial discrimination” by dismantling a Black-plurality district.
While the Supreme Court considered the request from Alabama Republicans, a panel of lower-court judges continued its process for revising the districts to create an additional seat where candidates preferred by Black voters could win most elections.
A report filed late Monday by Richard Allen, the court-appointed special master, suggested three versions of new maps, all of which would pair Reps. Jerry Carl (R) of the Mobile-area’s 1st District and Barry Moore (R) of the southeastern 2nd District in the same seat.
Any Republican would be hard-pressed to win in the proposed reconfigurations of the 2nd District. On all three of the proposed maps, the 2nd District would link Mobile to Montgomery and have a Black voting-age population (BVAP) between 48.5% to 50.1%, up from the current 30.1%.
Joe Biden, the candidate preferred by most Black voters in the 2020 presidential election, would have carried all three versions of the 2nd by between 10 and 13 percentage points, according to Allen’s report. That makes it likely Republicans will end up with a slimmer advantage in the state’s delegation, 5-2 rather than the current 6-1.
Carl presently represents more people than Moore in all three proposed configurations of the 1st District, which would be overwhelmingly Republican.
“Once again we have seen activist judges overstep their roles. South Alabama and its communities need to stay together,” Carl said in a statement. “However, let me be clear, I will be running for re-election in Alabama’s First Congressional District.”
Moore hasn’t announced his political plans. His office didn’t return messages seeking comment.
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The three-judge federal panel will adopt a remedial map within days. Alabama election officials have said new lines need to be in place by early October to accommodate the state’s early primary next March.
The federal judges, two of whom were Donald Trump appointees, originally ruled in January 2022 that Alabama’s racially polarized voting meant that a remedial map “will need to include two districts in which Black voters either comprise a voting-age majority or something quite close to it.”
The US Supreme Court upheld that ruling in June and again on Tuesday in a case being closely watched in part because similar fights are being waged in Louisiana, Texas and Georgia in cases that could help determine control of the US House.
All three of Allen’s proposed maps would preserve Democratic Rep. Terri Sewell’s 7th District as Black-majority and strongly Democratic while retaining solidly Republican districts for Reps. Mike Rogers, Robert Aderholt, Dale Strong, and Gary Palmer.
The lead case is Allen v. Milligan, 23A231.
— With assistance from Greg Stohr.
To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Giroux in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org