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Marshall: Opportunity district doesn’t violate SCOTUS ruling

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall is defending the map created by the Legislature during the 2023 special session, claiming it was in full compliance with the Supreme Court ruling.

Marshall disagrees with the three-judge panel that ruled against the state in the case of Allen v. Milligan last week. The court rejected the new congressional map and ordered a special master and cartographer to draw a new one.

Marshall discussed the issue Wednesday on WVNN’s “The Yaffee Program.”

“We think that clearly within the domain of our Alabama Legislature is the ability to draw these districts within these fundamental principles, and we think they’ve done that here,” Marshall said. “And that they have created that opportunity district that Section 2 requires.”

The attorney general emphasized that the Supreme Court never required the state to create two majority-minority districts.

“It really gets down to … what does that term ultimately mean? What is an opportunity district and does it in fact require two majority-minority districts? Clearly, the Allen opinion from the Supreme Court did not say that,” he said. “And so the question is, without real guidance from the court, because nobody has really established what is that appropriate percentage line: What is the flexibility for state legislatures to be able to act?”

Marshall thinks those arguing against the Legislature’s map are motivated more by partisan politics rather than racial justice.

“We’re confusing the red and blue in our state and equating that to race,” he said. “The reality is we’re a conservative state, we’re a red state, and people trend very much conservative in their thinking as well as in their voting, and yet the argument for those plaintiffs is not so much about creating two minority opportunity districts, but they really want to create two Democratic districts.”

He also outlined the next steps in the fight against the ruling.

“[O]ne thing that we’ve seen already is Justice Thomas, who is our judge for the 11th Circuit, has requested for the plaintiffs to respond to our application by next week,” Marshall said. “So at that point, at least the Milligan case will be before the Supreme Court to consider whether or not they put a stop to the three-judge panel’s order regarding the special master and what those next steps will be.”

Alabama Secretary of State Wes Allen weighed in on the case as well, Tuesday saying, “absent a stay, the state will be compelled to cede its sovereign redistricting power to a court that will intentionally segregate Alabamians based on race.”

Yaffee is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts “The Yaffee Program” weekdays 9-11 a.m. on WVNN. You can follow him on Twitter @Yaffee

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