The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled that a congressional voting map drawn up by Alabama Republicans can remain in place.
The high court voted 5-4 to maintain the maps, with Justice Brett Kavanaugh writing that a lower court’s order to have the maps redrawn so close to election day could lead to “disruption and unfair consequences for candidates, political parties, and voters, among others.”
The map will be used in the 2022 election. The high court, which agreed to hear the Republican appeal, is unlikely to hear oral arguments in the case until its new term begins in the fall.
“When an election is close at hand, the rules of the road must be clear and settled,” Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote in a concurrent opinion joined by Justice Samuel Alito.
“Late judicial tinkering with election laws can lead to disruption and to unanticipated and unfair consequences for candidates, political parties, and voters, among others,” Kavanaugh wrote.
There was some criticism of this decision. “Accepting Alabama’s contentions would rewrite decades of this Court’s precedent about Section 2 of the VRA,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote in the dissent joined Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. “Staying its decision forces Black Alabamians to suffer what under that law is clear vote dilution.”
Citing “considerable disagreement and uncertainty regarding the … vote dilution claim,” Roberts wrote in his own dissent that the lower court’s analysis should “control the upcoming election” but subsequent elections should be “governed by this Court’s decision on review.”
The panel was composed of Judge Stanley Marcus from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, nominated by President Bill Clinton, and District Court Judges Anna M. Manasco and Terry F. Moorer, both chosen by President Donald Trump.
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