Justice Bart O’Kavanaugh has decided that a single congressional seat isn’t worth allowing states to simply nullify the Court’s decisions:
The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused Alabama’s request to reinstate a congressional map drawn by Republican lawmakers that had only one majority-Black district, paving the way for a new map to be put in place before the 2024 election.
Alabama’s request to keep its map was the second time in under a year that it had asked the Supreme Court to affirm a limited role of race in establishing voting districts for federal elections in what amounted to a defiant repudiation of lower-court rulings. In the latest twist in the case, the lower court had found that the state had brazenly flouted its directive to create a second majority-Black district or something “close to it.”
The court’s order gave no reasons, which is often the case when the justices decide on emergency applications. There were no public dissents. The ruling clears the way for a special master and court-appointed cartographer to create a new map.
The special master in the case submitted three proposed maps on Monday, the deadline set by the three-judge federal court. All of them included a second majority Black district.
This seems like obviously the correct strategic decision, but any kind of retreat from short-term Republican policy goals on the part of this supermajority is always an upset, particularly when it comes to voting rights.