The Supreme Court of the United States on Wednesday examined whether a state in the south of the country relied on racial considerations to redesign the electoral map, “expelling” 30,000 black voters from its constituency.
Since the Republicans only have a majority in the House of Representatives by a few votes, any change in the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court could determine the next president of the United States, leaving room for manipulation.
In the United States, political parties can draw constituency boundaries based on their interests, which they call “gerrymandering,” a practice that is generally legal but prohibited if it is done on racial grounds rather than political affiliation.
The nine judges of the Supreme Court spoke this Wednesday on the map of South Carolina, where the Republican majority “exiled 30,000 African-American citizens” in Charleston (south), that is, 62% of the black population, according to judges of the First Instance.
“It all comes down to separating race from politics,” concluded Samuel Alito, one of the most conservative justices, despite the fact that the two often overlap in the way they conduct elections.
For example, in South Carolina and Alabama, of the seven congressmen in the House of Representatives, six are white Republicans and one is a black Democrat.
During the debates, which lasted more than two hours, the conservative majority was skeptical about the first ruling, concluding that race was the main reason for the redistricting of Charleston.
“We’ve never had a case like this,” said Chief Justice John Roberts, noting the lack of direct evidence or “strange constitutions” indicating racial bias.
A ruling in favor of the plaintiffs “would mark a turning point in our jurisprudence on voting rights,” emphasized their lawyer, Leah Aden.
The three judges appointed by Democratic presidents considered, in contrast, that an “overt crime” was not necessary to establish the evidence.
It is believed that the court may issue a decision by the end of January 2024.
For civil rights activists, such as the influential American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), time is of the essence as the November 2024 presidential election approaches.
“Black voters in the First District will have to vote once under this unconstitutional map in 2022,” complained Sophia Lin Lakin, who directs election issues at the ACLU. “They don’t have to go through this again in the next election,” he said.
Last week, a federal court validated Alabama’s new electoral map (south), including two predominantly African-American constituencies instead of one.
The court and later the Supreme Court invalidated the map adopted by the Republican majority, claiming it violated the Voting Rights Act.
This civil rights law passed in 1965 aimed to prevent former segregationist states in the south of the country from denying African Americans the right to vote.
Georgia and Louisiana are awaiting appeals for a new electoral delimitation, which includes one more district with a majority African-American population in each of these two southern states led by Republicans.