South Carolina must redraw congressional maps after racial gerrymander, federal court rules

South Carolina must redraw congressional maps after racial gerrymander, federal court rules

A panel of federal judges ruled Friday that South Carolina lawmakers racially gerrymandered the state’s 1st Congressional District specifically to dilute the power of black voters.

Three Democratic-appointed judges who heard the case in South Carolina’s federal district court found that state lawmakers’ relocation of some 30,000 African-Americans in Charleston County to a nearby district “was more than a coincidence” and violated the 14th Amendment based on the Supreme Court. precedent.

“After carefully weighing the totality of the evidence in the record and the credibility of the witnesses, the Court finds that race was the overriding motivating factor in the drafting of General Assembly District Congressional District No. ruled.

The court gave lawmakers until March 31 to submit a new map and prevented further elections in the district until the new boundaries are approved.

The old Republican district, which stretches along much of coastal South Carolina, had former Rep. Joe Cunningham (D) in a major upset in 2018. Two years later, Rep. Nancy Mace (R) narrowly defeated Cunningham by 1.3 percentage points.

After district lines were redrawn, she won by a more comfortable margin of nearly 14 percentage points last November.

A resident of the district and the South Carolina arm of the NAACP challenged the new maps, also bringing allegations of racial slurs in two other congressional districts that were thrown out by judges.

But the court ultimately sided with the resident and the ACPA on some of its claims about District 1. They had also made claims about district boundaries in other counties, but the judges rejected those claims.

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“For decades, South Carolina has tried to shut black voters out of the election process and effectively silence us with maps that dilute our political power,” Taiwan Scott, the resident who filed the suit, said in a statement. “Today’s decision finally recognizes this scandalous, generations-long effort to drive us out of representation. While there is still much work to be done, we are one step closer to correcting South Carolina’s long history of voter suppression and one step closer to the representation we deserve.”

Brenda Murphy, president of the South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, called the decision a “decisive victory.”

“With this order and his call to halt all future congressional elections in CD 1 and order the General Assembly to submit a corrective map, we are emboldened and encouraged that we will see fairer maps of Congress for South Carolina,” she said.

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