Black Voters in North Carolina and Virginia Take Their Electoral Battle to the Supreme Court

Clover Hope 08/21/2017. 17 comments
VOTING RIGHTS VOTING RIGHTS ACT BLACK VOTERS SUPREME COURT ELECTION 2016 DONALD TRUMP

The Supreme Court will hear two cases on Monday from black voters in North Carolina and Virginia who claim the redistricting in their states was racially discriminatory.

Plaintiffs in today’s cases will argue that Republican lawmakers unfairly used the Voting Rights Act to remap electoral districts in favor of Republicans and limit the influence of black voters. Legislators in both states contend that the redistricting moves were made legally under the Voting Rights Act to “preserve” districts where black residents are a majority.

Associated Press reports:

The claim made by black voters in both states is that Republicans packed districts with more reliably Democratic black voters than necessary to elect their preferred candidates, making neighboring districts whiter and more Republican.

A lower court agreed with the challengers in North Carolina that two majority-black congressional districts were unconstitutional because their maps relied too heavily on race. The state appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing in part that it made districting decisions based on partisan politics, not race.

To put it more plainly, there’s evidence that gerrymandering Republicans in those states are using the Voting Rights Act to try to take away its black voters’ rights. According to AP:

The Virginia residents challenging their state districting plan said the lower court ignored a 2015 Supreme Court decision about Alabama in which Justice Anthony Kennedy joined the four more liberal justices to order a review of state legislative districts. Justice Stephen Breyer wrote for the court that the Alabama Legislature and the federal court that ruled on the plan had taken a “mechanically numerical” view, instead of trying to figure out what percentage of black voters were needed to elect a candidate of their choice.

The two Supreme Court cases could heavily impact views and legalities on how electoral maps are drawn based on race, amid widespread dissent over the results of this year’s presidential election in states where Donald Trump won the electoral vote.

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