Dem 51
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GOP 49
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The House Could Be Won or Lost in the South

The recent Supreme Court decision that the Alabama House map was unconstitutionally gerrymandered to make sure Black voters could not elect two Black representatives (out of 7), even though 27% of the voters are Black, has given the Democrats hope. The Alabama state legislature wiped its collective rear end with the Court decision and drew another map that has one Black district. The resulting lawsuit is now in court and it seems likely that the result will be a new map with two majority-Black districts drawn by a court-appointed special master.

Alabama isn't the only state with a contentious House map. In Florida, Democrats are suing in state court. They contend that the map Florida Republicans drew at the behest of Ron DeSantis violates the state Constitution, which prohibits gerrymandering. This is going to end up in the Florida Supreme Court, but not before the 2024 elections.

In Georgia, federal district judge Steve Jones ruled that the new Georgia map likely violated the Voting Rights Act. There will be a trial on Sept. 5. If Jones rules that the VRA has been violated, he could order the legislature to draw a new and better map or he could have a special master do it. Either way, it will end back up in the Supreme Court.

Another state where Democrats might pick up a seat is Louisiana. In June 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court voided the gerrymandered House map. The question now is what Judge Shelly Dick does. Will she let the legislature draw a new map or appoint a special master to do it? Of course, her decision can be appealed to the conservative Fifth Circuit.

North Carolina's Supreme Court just got a new Republican majority that is hell-bent on reversing a 2022 decision from the North Carolina Supreme Court that partisan gerrymandering violates the state Constitution. If the new Court says partisan gerrymandering is fine with them, this could lead to exchanging the current 7D, 7R map for a 4D, 10R map. That could wipe out all the Democrats' gains in the other states.

South Carolina is also a battleground. In January, a three-judge federal panel ruled that the current map violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution. Oral arguments in front of the Supreme Court are expected in the fall.

Everything in Texas is bigger, including the lawsuits. The Fifth Circuit has consolidated 11 separate lawsuits from Latino groups into a big one. Democrats are hoping the Supreme Court case about Alabama will give them a chance. It is a longshot, though. (V)

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