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AG Marshall rejects legal claims for two minority-majority congressional districts — ‘Proportionality is not a factor for the court to consider’

Attorney General Steve Marshall said he agreed with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that kept in place for the time being congressional maps drawn by the Alabama Legislature in a special session last year.

According to Marshall, the new maps were kept in the spirit of past maps, which had previously passed the muster of the federal courts and the Department of Justice.

“[W]hen we see in 2020, when the legislature, again, didn’t radically come in and change the lines — I continue to hear this narrative that the legislature engaged in sort of political and racial gerrymandering — it didn’t,” he said during an appearance on this week’s broadcast of Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal.” “They adopted a historic map. And one of the things we’ve also seen when you look at the population percentages and changes in Alabama — from 1990 to 2020, there was less than 2% growth in the percentage of the black population of Alabama. You look at 2010 to 2020. It is less than 0.4%.”

“So, what you have before the court is a map that has been around for 30 years with little population change in Alabama,” Marshall added. “We feel very strongly the court is going to see that basic premise as being one that it is improper at that point for federal courts to come in and require a change because I feel very strongly the Alabama Legislature did their job, and we have a map that is consistent with the factors those courts have considered in the past in whether or not that itself should move forward.”

Marshall rejected the notion that congressional representation should be proportional to the racial make-up of the state.

“First of all, proportionality is not a factor for the court to consider,” Marshall explained. “And that’s really what that argument is. The plaintiff’s own experts, one of them in particular, tried to draw over 2 million maps in Alabama with race-neutral reasons to come up with two minority-majority districts. They couldn’t do it. Literally, the algorithm could not produce two to be able to do it. And so the only way to be able to do it is to be able to allow race to predominate to try to create those two districts.”

“It would violate this idea of compactness of what courts look at for community of interest,” he added. “And being able to respect the boundaries of former maps that had been found valid, which this map had for 30-plus years. And also to respect incumbency, which is a historic factor the courts had been willing to recognize when they look at maps. If you see the maps the plaintiffs have drawn, it would be completely different than what Alabama has seen over the past 30-plus years.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.

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