The United States Supreme Court on Thursday invalidated a map of electoral districts in the country’s south that Republican lawmakers in Alabama accused of discriminating against black voters.
By a narrow majority of five out of nine justices, the US House of Law refused to further dismantle the 1965 civil rights law, much to the relief of minority advocacy groups.
That law, called the Voting Rights Act, was enacted to prevent former segregationist states from denying African-Americans the right to vote, but in recent years the Supreme Court struck down some of its content Is.
This matter was seen as a new attempt to weaken him.
Beyond the map debate, the state of Alabama tried to convince the Supreme Court to change its case law, which prohibits black voters from diluting their influence by concentrating their votes in a limited number of constituencies.
By agreeing to deal with his appeal, the Supreme Court seemed ready to agree with him.
However, Chief Justice John Roberts ruled for the majority that the “new approach” proposed by Alabama, which sought to avoid racial criteria in assessing the validity of electoral districts, was “convincing neither in principle nor in practice”. .
During the hearing, progressive judge Elena Kagan protested: “The Voting Rights Act is one of the great advances of our democracy (…) What will survive it?”.
The Constitution takes racial criteria into account when evaluating whether to cut constituencies to reduce the weight of black voters.
“The Supreme Court has rejected the Orwellian idea that it is inappropriate to consider racial criteria to determine the existence of racial discrimination,” said Devin Rosborough, an attorney with the powerful civil rights organization ACLU, for African-Americans “a Great Victory” voters. ,
His decision “preserves the principle that every voter in the United States should be able to exercise the constitutional right to vote without discrimination,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.
“It’s a good thing for democracy,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said from his side of the floor.
Specifically, Republican officials in Alabama must review a map drawn in 2021 to distribute seats in the House of Representatives.
In this split, black voters, who voted for Democratic candidates, were in the majority in only one of the state’s seven constituencies, when they make up 27% of its population.
In accordance with the Supreme Court ruling, officials must create a second constituency with a majority of African-American voters.