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John Roberts and racial manipulation

Gerrymandering strictly by breed is illegal, so how can it be enforced? According to Alabama, that’s Tuesday’s question in the Supreme Court in Merrill v. Milligan, a case related to the state’s recent redesign of the map of the US House of Representatives. The new districts resemble the status quo, with a majority black seat in the southeast. Tthe state says used the 2020 census data simply to enact “race-neutral adjustments for small changes in population.”

But Alabama has seven seats in the house, so a majority black district comes in at 14%, while 26% of the state’s voting-age population is black. A federal court said in January that the Voting Rights Act (VRA) requires Alabama to create a second majority black district, which would have 29% representation. Is this the law, or is this another misguided effort in what the Chief Justice john roberts once called a “sordid business, dividing us by race”?


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