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Southern Man, Better Keep Your Head, Don't Forget What SCOTUS Said

As we noted a little over a month ago, the Supreme Court is not happy with Alabama's congressional district map. The state is one-third Black, and yet only one of its seven districts is majority-black, despite the fact that the Black population is largely compressed into the areas in and around Birmingham and Montgomery. Chief Justice John Roberts, and several of his conservative colleagues, are willing to look the other way when the racial gerrymandering is only semi-egregious. But this was too much even for Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh to swallow, and so SCOTUS ordered a more representative map.

The state legislature of Alabama has already returned to the drawing board, and has decided that when the Supreme Court said "we want two majority-Black districts," what it really meant was "if you want to stick with one majority-Black district, that's OK." An Alabama state House committee just approved the new map, which changes AL-02 from roughly 30% Black to roughly 40% Black. It is expected the map will be approved by both chambers of the Alabama legislature this week, since Friday is the deadline to comply with the Supreme Court's order.

What is the thinking of Alabama legislators here? Other than "white power," that is? They could think that "close enough" will be enough to get them off the hook. Or, they could think that when the Supremes get this again, their commitment to pushing back against racial gerrymanders will have waned. Numerous other Southern states have pending cases over this basic issue, and by fall or winter of this year, Roberts and/or Kavanaugh might decide that this issue isn't worth getting involved with anymore. It is also possible that the Alabamians are just trying to waste time, and get close enough to 2024 that they can at least use illegal maps for one more cycle.

We will not pretend to know what is going to happen once all is said and done. We can, however, say that a story like this certainly helps us to understand why Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) is so very interested in playing nice with white supremacists. (Z)

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