Obama judge approves Republican-drawn legislative map in Georgia

 December 29, 2023

A federal judge appointed by Barack Obama has approved legislative districts in Georgia that favor the state's Republicans.

The ruling denies Democrats a coveted opportunity to gain seats in the 2024 congressional elections.

It's just the latest example of courts redrawing the electoral map in 2024's high-stakes contests.

Obama judge's shock ruling

The Wisconsin Supreme Court's liberal majority voted to overturn the state's GOP-drawn maps, and in Alabama, Democrats are expected to gain a seat following Voting Rights Act litigation.

In the Georgia case, Judge Steve Jones found Voting Rights Act violations, but he determined they could be resolved in a way that permits Republicans to keep their partisan advantage.

Jones had ordered Republicans in the state legislature to go back to the drawing board and create an additional black-majority district in the House of Representatives, as well as two in the state Senate and five in the state House, after finding the old maps diluted black voting power.

The Republicans did what the judge asked, but they did it by swapping a majority-minority district, represented by Democrat Lucy McBath, for a new black-majority district.

There are now five black-majority districts, but the state's overall partisan split of 9 Republican seats and 5 Democrat seats will remain unchanged.

Voting rights dispute

The liberal plaintiffs argue that McBath's majority-minority district - which contained a majority "coalition" of black, Asian, and Hispanic voters - deserves the same protection as a black majority district under the Voting Rights Act, but Jones said they would need to make that case separately.

Jones said it is not his place as a judge to interfere with the legislative process, even if Republicans are being unfair.

“In fact, the Supreme Court has expressly stated that federal judges have no license to reallocate political power between the two major political parties, given the lack of constitutional authority and the absence of legal standards to direct such decisions," he wrote.

Still not good enough?

Georgia now has another black-majority district, but Democrats are still complaining that the maps are discriminatory.

“The Republican maps are an ongoing Voting Rights Act violation. Period,” state Senate Minority Leader Gloria Butler (D) said.

Democrats can't say Jones is a partisan, because he was appointed by Obama, and he forced Georgia to remake its original map.

Are Democrats finally admitting that this is all about politics, and not making things fair for black voters?

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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