A judge declared on Thursday that certain congressional, state Senate, and state House districts in Georgia were created with racial discrimination and instructed state legislators to add another congressional district with a majority of Black residents.
According to a 516-page ruling by U.S. District Judge Steve Jones, the state of Georgia is required to create two new districts with a majority of Black voters in the 56-member state Senate and five new districts with a majority of Black voters in the 180-member state House.
Jones instructed the Republican-controlled General Assembly and GOP governor of Georgia to act before December 8th. He stated that he would not allow the 2024 elections to proceed using the current maps. This would require a special session, as lawmakers are not set to convene again until January. If the state does not create new plans that allow Black voters to elect their preferred candidates by his deadline, Jones warned that the court will create or adopt its own maps.
Alabama’s challenge to the law has been rejected.
Recently, courts in the states of Alabama and Florida have ruled that Republican-controlled legislatures have unfairly diminished the voting influence of Black residents. Additionally, there are ongoing legal disputes regarding congressional districts in Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.
The three-judge panel in the Alabama case expressed concern after the state revised its map in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in June, but did not address the potential violation of the Voting Rights Act. The Republican party in Alabama requested urgent intervention from the Supreme Court once more, but the judges…
“To utilize the revised district boundaries in upcoming electoral processes.”
New voting lines
chosen by the panel of judges
During the month of October, create an additional district for the state with a voting-age population consisting of approximately 50% Black voters.
The redrawing of legislative districts may result in smaller Republican majorities in the state House and Senate. However, this alone is not expected to result in a Democratic majority.
Jones, a member of the federal district court in Atlanta, stated in his ruling that Georgia has taken steps towards achieving voting equality since 1965. However, the evidence presented in this case reveals that Georgia has not yet reached a level of equal accessibility and opportunity for all individuals in the political process.
He observed that while the state’s population growth in the past ten years was due to the minority population, there was no change in the number of congressional and legislative districts with a majority of Black residents.
The plaintiffs emphasized the state’s significant increase in Black residents from 2010 to 2020, yet the lack of new Black-majority state Senate districts and only two additional Black-majority state House districts. They also argued for the creation of another Black-majority congressional district in Georgia.