Redistricting Map Court Battles Cloud 2024 Races

Court challenges to congressional redistricting maps in several states cloud predictions of 2024 races that could determine which party will have the majority.

The Brennan Center for Justice reported earlier this month that 74 cases had been filed in 27 states regarding congressional and legislative district maps as of July 7, with 45 pending trial or appeal.

Alaska, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and South Carolina have already had to redraw maps, while states including Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, and New York are still in the legal fight, which could drag on past election day.

Newly drawn maps could change the landscape and impact efforts by Democrats to reclaim the six seats needed to retake the House majority, Roll Call reported Tuesday.

The report said the U.S. Supreme Court lifted a stay for drawing a new map in Alabama under the Voting Rights Act, giving Black voters better representation in the districts.

“Throughout the redraw process, the debate among legislative Republicans was never about how to best ensure Black Alabamians had the opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice,” Former Attorney General Eric H. Holder, chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, said in a statement last week. “Instead, it was a debate between two maps that sought to preserve an illegal and discriminatory status quo.”

The Supreme Court ruled last month to allow state courts to review laws states pass to govern federal elections.

“State courts retain the authority to apply state constitutional restraints when legislatures act under the power conferred upon them by the Elections Clause,” Chief Justice John Roberts said, writing for the 6-3 majority. “But federal courts must not abandon their own duty to exercise judicial review. In interpreting state law in this area, state courts may not so exceed the bounds of ordinary judicial review as to unconstitutionally intrude upon the role specifically reserved to state legislatures by Article I, Section 4, of the Federal Constitution.”

While some of the cases are in federal courts, others, including those of New York, Utah, and Ohio, are being decided in state courts and may not be decided by election day, the Roll Call report said.

“The question is, will the Democrats who run the Legislature learn their lesson to not be so aggressive this time and come up with one that would survive a challenge as a gerrymander?” Roll Call reported New York’s Columbia University Law School professor Richard Briffault saying.

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