HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — The State of Alabama is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene following a ruling by a federal three-judge panel this week rejecting the congressional map drawn by the Alabama Legislature in July.
The panel said the map failed to remedy Voting Rights Act problems and directed that up to three new maps be drawn by court-appointed mapmakers by Sept. 25.
But Alabama wants the high court to intervene and allow the legislature’s map to go forward. Alabama is appealing to the same court that endorsed the panel’s early findings and sent the case back in June.
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed with the panel’s 2022 findings that a second Black majority voting age population district or near-majority district, could reasonably be drawn.
In July, during a special session, the Alabama Legislature then drew a map without that district. Alabama officials have argued the new map, which includes a U.S. House District 7 with a 51 percent Black voting age population and a District 2 with a 40 percent Black voting age population — is constitutional and satisfies what the law requires.
The panel rejected that map this week.
“We have reached these conclusions only after conducting an exhaustive analysis of an extensive record under well-developed legal standards, as Supreme Court precedent instructs,” the panel said in its order. “We do not take lightly federal intrusion into a process ordinarily reserved for the State Legislature. But we have now said twice that this Voting Rights Act case is not close. And we are deeply troubled that the State enacted a map that the State readily admits does not provide the remedy we said federal law requires.”
Following the ruling, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office said its efforts would continue.
“While we are disappointed in today’s decision, we strongly believe that the Legislature’s map complies with the Voting Rights Act and the recent decision of the U.S. Supreme Court,” according to the statement. “We intend to promptly seek review from the Supreme Court to ensure that the State can use its lawful congressional districts in 2024 and beyond.”
On Wednesday Marshall filed notice with the federal court that Alabama was appealing the panel’s ruling directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.
It is not clear if the Supreme Court will take up the petition filed by the state.
The panel has said it hoped to have a new map in place by Oct. 1.
The panel includes two judges who are appointees of then-President Donald Trump –U.S. District Judge Anna Manasco of the Northern District of Alabama and U.S. District Judge Terry Moorer of the Southern District of Alabama. The panel also includes U.S. 11th Circuit Judge Stanley Marcus, who was appointed by then-President Bill Clinton.
Following notice of the state’s plans to appeal, the panel said the plaintiffs have until Friday at 10 a.m. to respond.