Supreme Court sides with Republicans in election controversy

 May 25, 2024

The U.S. Supreme Court has just given Republicans - especially South Carolina Republicans - a big win. 

This is because the justices, according to Fox News, recently ruled in favor of a Republican-backed redistricting map.

The court's decision was six to three.

The reader, likely, will not be surprised to learn that the three dissenters were liberal justices Elana Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Ketanji Brown Jackson. There will be more on this in a moment.

The maps controversy

Fox explains, "The case stems from a challenge by the ACLU and the NAACP claiming that the redrawn maps following the 2020 census were illegally gerrymandered and had urged the justices to rule in time to impact upcoming congressional races."

In fact, the challengers claimed that the maps were racially discriminatory.

NPR provides further details, writing:

At issue in the case was the way the Republican-dominated South Carolina legislature drew new lines for congressional districts after the 2020 Census. The problem it faced was how to equalize the number of voters in each district. Specifically, the 1st Congressional District had 88,000 too many voters, and the adjoining 6th District, represented by the state’s only Black member of Congress, had lost almost the same number of voters. In the end, the legislature moved some 200,000 Black voters into new districts and chopped up Charleston County, stripping from CD1 much of the city of Charleston, and ending the city’s 120-year history as the anchor for the district.

Initially, a lower federal court agreed that the maps were unconstitutional. But, it allowed the maps to stand because it did not think that the U.S. Supreme Court would be able to decide the matter in time for the upcoming elections.

Now, the Supreme Court has released its decision.

They're constitutional

The justices, on Thursday, declared the controversial maps constitutional, reversing the lower court's ruling.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote, "A party challenging a map’s constitutionality must disentangle race and politics if it wishes to prove that the legislature was motivated by race as opposed to partisanship. Second, in assessing a legislature’s work, we start with a presumption that the legislature acted in good faith."

He added, "In this case, which features a challenge to South Carolina’s redistricting efforts in the wake of the 2020 census, the three-judge District Court paid only lip service to these propositions. That misguided approach infected the District Court’s findings of fact, which were clearly erroneous under the appropriate legal standard."

As mentioned earlier, the court's liberal contingent disagreed. In their dissent, they wrote:

In every way, the majority today stacks the deck against the Challengers. They must lose, the majority says, because the State had a 'possible' story to tell about not considering race—even if the opposite story was the more credible. And they must lose again, the majority says, because they failed to offer a particular form of proof—which they did not know would be relevant and which this Court recently told plaintiffs was not required.

Regardless, the elections will now proceed with the disputed maps.

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