Here We Go Again: Supreme Court Upholds South Carolina Voting Map Lower Court Ruled Was Racist

SCOTUS Gerrymandering

Activists gathered outside the U.S. Supreme Court for oral arguments in the Alexander v. South Carolina Conference of the NAACP gerrymandering case in Washington on Oct. 11, 2023. | Source: Bill Clark / Getty

At this point, it should be clear as day to anyone paying attention that part of the GOP’s strategy to win big in November is to dismantle predominately Black voting districts purportedly in the name of “race-neutrality” while increasing the number of predominately white districts with no sudden concern for racial neutrality whatsoever. It’s a strategy that has already worked in Florida and Louisiana, and it’s currently being mulled over by judges in Texas. Now, South Carolina is the latest winning contestant in Who Wants to Make a Jim Crow Voting Map Legal? as the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a congressional map in the state that a lower court ruled was an unconstitutional racial gerrymander that resulted in the “bleaching of African American voters” from a district.

From the New York Times:

The conservative majority, by a 6-to-3 vote, returned the case to the lower court, handing a victory to Republicans by allowing them to maintain boundaries that helped make the district in question a party stronghold.

The immediate effect of the ruling will be limited, as the court’s delay in ruling had already ensured that this year’s elections would take place under the contested map. But the majority opinion, written by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., will have an impact beyond South Carolina in the years to come, said Richard L. Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.

“Justice Alito for a court majority has once again come up with a legal framework that makes it easier for Republican states to engage in redistricting to help white Republicans maximize their political power,” Professor Hasen said.

It’s the same old story that resulted in victories in South Carolina and the aforementioned red states, as well as contested cases in Alabama and Georgia: Lower courts ruled that state Republicans purposely diluted Black voting power by breaking up Black districts, and so the gerrymandering GOP goons keep appealing to court after court until they find one that is conservative enough to decide their actions haven’t been proven racist just because it only negatively affects Black voters.

“We start with a presumption that the legislature acted in good faith,” Justice Alito wrote in his decision. “When a federal court finds that race drove a legislature’s districting decisions it is declaring that the legislature engaged in ‘offensive and demeaning’ conduct that ‘bears an uncomfortable resemblance to political apartheid.’ We should not be quick to hurl such accusations at the political branches.”

In other words: If the demonstrably racist lawmakers say they didn’t do anything racist then they didn’t do anything racist.

“The proper response to this case is not to throw up novel roadblocks enabling South Carolina to continue dividing citizens along racial lines,” dissenting Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ketanji Brown Jackson wrote in a joint opinion.  “It is to respect the plausible — no, the more than plausible — findings of the district court that the state engaged in race-based districting. And to tell the state that it must redraw (the challenged district), this time without targeting African-American citizens.”

The third dissenting judge, Justice Elena Kagan, “accused the majority of erecting hurdles to make it all but impossible to challenge voting maps as racial gerrymanders,” the Times reported.

It’s infuriating, isn’t it? Out of one side of their necks, Republicans view any and all diversity, equity and inclusion efforts as racist affronts to white people without providing a lick of unambiguous evidence that white people are adversely affected by them, and on the other side, they brazenly target predominately Black districts for no other reason than that they are predominately Black—but they’ll never call that what it is, which is reverse-DEI racism that only benefits whiteness. 

It’s also exactly the kind of thing critical race theory exists to examine, which is why they hate that too.


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The post Here We Go Again: Supreme Court Upholds South Carolina Voting Map Lower Court Ruled Was Racist appeared first on NewsOne.

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