On November 15, 2021, NAACP Legal Defense Fund and co-counsel filed two lawsuits against the Secretary of State and the chairs of the Legislative committee on Reapportionment, one challenging the state’s congressional redistricting plan under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and the 14th Amendment and the other challenging Alabama’s state legislative plan as a racial gerrymander.
The lawsuits cite Alabama’s “sordid record” of its white majority using racial discrimination to maintain power. The suits charge that the newly drawn congressional redistricting map denies Black residents equal opportunity to participate in the political process and elect candidates of choice, and that both the congressional and state legislative maps result from racial gerrymanders that intentionally pack and crack Black communities in the state, which denies such communities equal protection of the laws.
Regarding the challenge to the state’s congressional redistricting plan, the plaintiffs allege that it is possible and has long been possible to draw two majority Black congressional districts in the state. Since the 1990s, Black voters have been packed into a single congressional district, and outside of that district, no Black candidate has won election to Congress, though many have run. The lawsuit asks the court to order the state to redraw the map and create a second majority Black district.
Regarding Alabama’s state legislative map, the plaintiffs assert that the state has intentionally used race in drawing district lines to keep the number of majority-Black districts at an arbitrary level by packing or cracking Black voters throughout the state. In many cases, the state drew these districts without regard to their own redistricting principles, and they were much more likely to depart from these principles in majority Black counties.
These cases were brought on behalf of Greater Birmingham Ministries, Alabama State Conference of the NAACP, and several individuals who are being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Alabama, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Hogan Lovells LLP, and the firm Wiggins, Childs, Pantazis, Fisher & Goldfarb.
Plaintiffs are requesting a federal court step in to enjoin—or halt—the maps’ implementation to prevent harms to Black Americans.