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Sewell: Court decision on redistricting ‘a victory for Black Alabamians’

U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell is praising a decision by a federal court to reject a congressional map put forward by the state Legislature.

The three-judge panel ruled against the state in the case of Allen v. Milligan Tuesday, striking down the new congressional map and ordering a special master and cartographer to draw a new one.

“I was more than just disappointed that the state Legislature didn’t even try to adhere to the Supreme Court’s ruling,” Sewell (D-Birmingham) said on CNN Tuesday. “The Supreme Court was pretty clear. They said draw two majority-minority districts or something quite close to it. And as you said, it was one district, my district, that went from 55% to 50%, and then they created another district that was around 39.9%. And definitely that’s not quite close to it.”

Sewell declared it a win for Black voters in Alabama.

“[T]oday was a victory for Black Alabamians, but also for all Alabamians, because what we’re fighting for is fairness, right?” she said. “We want to make sure that irrespective of your race or ZIP Code that every voter has an equal opportunity for their voice to be heard in this democracy.

“There’s nothing more fundamental than that.”

Secretary of State Wes Allen has requested a stay on the ruling saying in the appeal, “due to the exigencies imposed by these cases and these orders, and the state’s potential need to seek appellate review on an expedited basis, Secretary Allen is asking the court to issue a prompt ruling on his stay motion.”

Sewell said she hopes the court rejects Allen’s request.

“I really hope they will reject the stay immediately so that we can continue with the process,” she said. “I know it’s going to go on concurrently with the drawing of the maps. The special master has until September 25th to come up with three different maps.”

She also said the decision will not only impact Alabama, but other states as well.

“And I know that will affect not only Alabama but we’re waiting on Louisiana and Georgia,” she said. “And it will have a ripple effect. And not just in congressional seats, but what this case says is the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is alive, well and enforceable, Section 2. And so, Section 2 is about voter dilution. So even in Jefferson County, where we have five commission seats, I think that you’ll see a lawsuit whether or not that violates the VRA, Section 2 because there are so many African-American voters in that county. It has a big effect all around.”

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall is also requesting the court to place a hold on the decision pending appeal.

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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