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Surprise Supreme Court win for Black voters could give Democrats an electoral boost

The Supreme Court’s unexpected affirmation of part of the Voting Rights Act was not just a win for Black voters in Alabama — it could also send new Democrats to Congress in as many as four states, advocates said, as the precedent is applied in similar cases around the country.

The court, divided 5-4, struck down Alabama’s congressional map Thursday, agreeing with a lower court that the state had diluted the power of Black voters by drawing just one majority-Black district when there were enough voters for two seats.

Chief Justice John Roberts and fellow conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh sided with the court’s three liberals.

The state’s Republican-controlled Legislature will be tasked with redrawing Alabama’s seven congressional districts so they include two majority-Black — and heavily Democratic — seats in the state’s so-called Black Belt. The region is named for its dark, fertile soil that was farmed by the enslaved ancestors of many Black Alabama voters.

The ruling buttressed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, landmark legislation that secured voting representation for people of color in America, and its impact will extend far outside the region.

Thursday’s ruling surprised many court observers and voting rights advocates, in large part because the Supreme Court has a 6-3 conservative majority that has often ruled against voting rights groups. In February 2022, the court had ordered Alabama in a preliminary decision to use the challenged map in the midterm election, which suggested it was likely to ultimately rule for the state.

A similar case over Louisiana’s congressional map is expected to force state legislators to draw a second Black district there, while courts in Georgia and Texas are weighing similar challenges to Section 2 of the law for federal redistricting maps.

The changes could well affect which party controls Congress: Republicans have only a five-seat majority heading into 2024, and the continued fights over congressional maps could make the difference in another close election.

Source: nbcnews