Redrawing Districts

The Supreme Court is hearing a case, Merrill v Milligan, that concerns whether Congressional districts will be drawn in accordance with census outcomes concerning the distribution of American citizens in a State, or whether they will (continue to) be drawn to favor race in a State.

Alabama, the State in question in Merrill, redrew its Congressional districts as a result of the 2020 census outcome and kept substantially the same districts with substantially the same population distributions as the prior district map, making tweaks at district boundaries to account for minor population moves. The plaintiffs in the case, though,

argue the map should be redrawn so that Alabama has two majority-Black districts instead of just one….

Alabama, on the other hand, is arguing

that should the lawsuit prevail, the state will be forced into an unconstitutional practice of prioritizing race in creating election rules….

Alabama also would be forced to violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which explicitly bars (re)districting on the basis of race. There is only one legitimately correct outcome to this case, and it favors Alabama. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has the right of it, having written in other venues that Section 2 of the VRA, the center of the present case, has

involved the federal courts, and indeed the Nation, in the enterprise of systematically dividing the country into electoral districts along racial lines—an enterprise of segregating the races into political homelands that amounts, in truth, to nothing short of a system of political apartheid.

Absolutely. Under law, all American citizens are equal. All American voters are the same: we’re Americans. There are no white Americans and black Americans and Hispanic Americans and Asian Americans—under law there are only American Americans.

Requiring us to be set apart by race in our interactions with our government is nothing but racism written into our laws. And that’s contrary to our Constitution, which is supreme over Congressional statutes like the VRA and its Section 2. Here’s the relevant clause of our 1st Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting…the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Voting is at the core of assembly, and it’s at the center of redressing our grievances with Government: it’s where we come together to fire those Government persons with whom we are most dissatisfied and to hire replacements for them.

It’s time for the Court to rule, decisively, in favor of drawing Congressional district boundaries according to the distribution of American voters, and to stop drawing them to favor one group of Americans while disfavoring other groups of Americans.

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