22222222SCOTUS: Race, voting maps, & a win for voting rights
In one of the United States Supreme Court’s most surprising decisions this summer, the court ruled in a 5-4 decision that Alabama had diluted the power of Black voters in drawing a congressional voting map with a single district in which they made up a majority. Prior to the decision’s publishing, voting rights advocates were deeply concerned that a decision in this case would further undermine the Voting Rights Act of 1965 – a central legislative achievement of the civil rights movement that has been under attack since the implementation of the Supreme Court’s conservative majority in recent years. The law, however, appeared to persevere unscathed from its most recent meeting with the court.
While the recent decision stems from a case rooted in Alabama, other states in the South may also have to redraw their maps to bolster Black voting power, which could in turn aid Democrats in their efforts to retake the House. As a particular highlight of recent redistricting taking place all over the country, this case’s outcome has been praised by civil rights leaders, who explain that the redistricting process nearly always disadvantages growing communities of minorities.
Attorney General Merrick B. Garland made also a public statement applauded the ruling. “Today’s decision rejects efforts to further erode fundamental voting rights protections, and preserves the principle that in the United States, all eligible voters must be able to exercise their constitutional right to vote free from discrimination based on their race,” he said in a statement.
This win for voting rights in the Supreme Court is similarly a big win for equality. Black women are uniquely and disproportionately represented in the population of Americans that face blocks within our state and federal voting systems, and in ensuring the redistricting attempts of Alabama and other Southern states remain truly representative of their people, citizens can know their voices hold equal weight to one another. ERA Coalition partner Black Girls Vote says it best, “We believe our vote is our voice and we inspire Black women and girls to use the political process to improve the quality of life for their families and the collective community.”