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Supreme Court To Alabama: DID WE STUTTER?
They'll get to completely gutting the Voting Rights Act, but not today.
Alabama Republicans got bitch buttoned by the Supreme Court this morning, dashing their hopes of being able to steal a congressional seat from Black residents for yet another election cycle. The brush-off came in the form of two unsigned miscellaneous orders declining to stay a trial court’s ruling in the longstanding redistricting dispute spearheaded by Alabama Secretary of State Wes Allen.
It started back in January of 2022 when a three-judge panel rejected the state’s preposterous gerrymander and told it to go back and draw an electoral map which would give Black residents a chance to elect their preferred candidate in two seats rather than one, in accordance with Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The state immediately appealed, and conservatives gleefully crossed their fingers at the prospect that the last vestiges of the VRA might be overturned. This hope turned to tumescent anticipation when Justice Brett Kavanaugh sided with the court’s four lunatic conservatives to block implementation of the ruling, allowing the state to run with its racist gerrymander in 2022.
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But then in June, Kavanaugh flipped, siding with Chief Justice John Roberts and the Court’s liberal wing, and ordered the state to redraw its maps. The VRA lives to fight, or at least hobble along, another day.
Once again, the trial court ordered the state to draw compliant maps. And once again, the state said “GET BENT!”
“Our Legislature knows our state, our people and our districts better than the federal courts or activist groups do,” Governor Kay Ivey sniffed as she signed off on a legislative gerrymander even less compliant with the VRA than the first round of maps the court rejected. The maps were immediately challenged, at which point the trial panel, including two Trump appointees, were good and pissed off.
“It is exceptionally unusual for a litigant who has presented his arguments to the Supreme Court once already — and lost — to assert that he is now ‘overwhelmingly likely’ to prevail on those same arguments in that Court in this case,” Judges Stanley Marcus, Anna Manasco, and Terry Moorer wrote in September, rejecting Allen’s emergency motion to stay the order pending appeal, adding that “The Secretary’s assertion that he is ‘overwhelmingly’ likely to prevail on appeal is as bare as it is bold: it comprises only three sentences crafted at the highest level of abstraction with virtually no citations.”
Instead the panel appointed a special master to draw Alabama some districts which actually comply with federal law and the court’s order.
Meanwhile, Allen appealed the case directly to the Supreme Court (once he figured out that’s what you do with a ruling from a three-judge panel, LOL).
Now, in normal times, openly defying a Supreme Court ruling and asking it to rethink just three months later would seem to be a very WTF course of events. Why would Alabama think that it would get a different result in September from the one it got in June?
But according to Alabama Political Reporter, the state thought it had an ace in the hole in the form of Leonard Leo, the grand wizard of the Federalist Society who controls conservative judicial nominations, and his billion-dollar slush fund. Leo, who is tight with Alabama’s Solicitor General Edmund LaCour, seemed to think that Kavanaugh would flip.
As APR reported on July 27, Alabama lawmakers working in conjunction with state Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office and Washington D.C. lawyers had “intelligence” that Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh — who voted with the majority in Milligan just weeks ago to order the new maps under the statutory language — is open to rehearing the case as a constitutional challenge to the validity of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
And indeed Ol’ Kegstand has made some noise about the need to set an end date for the remaining racial protections under the VRA — the same justification that Chief Justice Roberts used as a reason to gut pre-clearance requirements in Shelby County v. Holder.
But sadly (for these brazen assholes) it was not meant to be. Kav and Roberts stuck with the ladies and their June ruling. And so Alabama will at long last get fair(er) maps which comply with federal law.
Sucks that we have to rely on that bastard Kavanaugh, but … at least we didn’t have to live with the email lady as president.
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