(RightWing.org) – As numerous states finalize federal congressional districts and state representative boundaries, legal battles are ensuing. Much of the debate centers around racial borders. In February, the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) overturned a court-ordered congressional map in Alabama. If approved, the new map would have added a black-majority congressional district.
On Wednesday, March 23, the SCOTUS sided with Republicans in Wisconsin in a case involving state legislative districts. The nation’s high court threw out a map drawn by Gov. Tony Evers (D) and approved by the state Supreme Court after the legislature and governor couldn’t agree on the legislative district boundaries. Evers arbitrarily created an additional black-majority district in the Milwaukee area.
SCOTUS was tasked with considering two issues. Who is responsible for drawing maps, and did the governor and Supreme Court violate the Voting Rights Act?
Justices Say State Supreme Court Committed a Legal Error
The Supreme Court majority ruled that the state court committed a legal error in choosing a plan and didn’t follow the legal process to justify creating a legislative district.
In early March, the nation’s high court refused to block congressional districts in North Carolina and Pennsylvania created by the states’ high courts. Still, three justices stated they didn’t believe the court could override a state legislature’s maps. The US Constitution gives state legislatures sole responsibility for congressional maps. Yet, the case in Wisconsin dealt with state maps. On those grounds, the SCOTUS was silent.
Where the court expressed concern was on the issue of creating districts based solely on race. Recently, Democrats in Congress and across the country have alleged that Republicans violated the Voting Rights Act (VRA) by not drawing boundaries that would create more black representation. In Wisconsin, the nation’s highest court said it expressly rejected creating a district without legislative input based on population growth.
The justices added that the governor provided little to no evidence or analysis the VRA required the new black-majority district. In doing so, the state Supreme Court also failed to meet testing standards to justify the new district under the Voting Rights Act.
Voting Rights Act Forbids Racial Discrimination
Democrats often cite section two of the Voting Rights Act that outlawed racial discrimination in voting practices. They believe it justifies what happened in Wisconsin. Here’s the problem… discrimination based on race doesn’t consider what race is discriminated against. White, black, Asian, Hispanic, and Native Americans can experience discrimination. Therefore, creating a new district without legislative approval based on race alone could be grounds for violating the law.
The Supreme Court sent the maps back to the state to resolve the dispute. Regarding the issue, the nation’s highest court agreed to hear the Alabama case next fall.
Stay tuned. The issue of governors and courts creating districts instead of legislatures as prescribed in the US Constitution could be decided once and for all in 2023.
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