Federal judges have selected a new congressional map for Alabama on Thursday – one that includes an additional majority-black district that will likely give Democrats an additional seat in the House.
The selected map – Remedial Plan 3 – was approved by a panel of three federal court judges after ruling that the Republican-controlled Alabama Legislature failed to remedy a Voting Rights Act violation when lawmakers adopted new lines this summer.
The judges made their selection from three remedial maps that were proposed by a court-appointed official after hearing objections from both parties. The new map, which replaces the Republican drawn lines, will be used for the 2024 elections.
The ruling, which orders the Alabama Secretary of State to administer the next election based on the selected map’s lines, states that “the Plaintiffs already suffered this irreparable injury once in this census cycle when they voted in 2022 under the unlawful 2021 Plan” and “will suffer an irreparable harm absent injunctive relief.”
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court dealt a final blow to the congressional map drawn up by Alabama Republicans, permitting a court-appointed official to draw a map with greater representation for Black voters instead.
In a brief order, the high court rejected a petition from Alabama to reverse a lower court ruling that threw out a proposal from state lawmakers that did not include a second Black-majority district, as the Supreme Court previously directed. The ruling allowed a court-appointed special master to proceed with one of three proposals submitted last week that would create a second Black-majority congressional district in Alabama.
In addition to the Yellowhammer State’s existing majority-Black district, another one has nearly been added, giving Democrats the ability to pick up an extra seat in the House.
Black voters remain a strong Democratic constituency in Alabama, and the new district would favor Democrats as both parties battle for control of the House in 2024. Lawsuits challenging GOP-led redistricting efforts are also pending in Georgia, Louisiana and Texas.
The state’s initial, GOP-proposed congressional map — that had one majority-Black district out of seven in a state where 27% of residents are Black — was denied last year by the three-judge panel.
The panel then issued the guidance to include a second Black-majority district or “something quite close.”
Alabama appealed the case to the Supreme Court and lost in June, with the justices ruling that lawmakers had diluted the voting power of the state’s Black residents.
However, instead of following the court’s directive to create a second majority-Black district, state lawmakers proposed a plan that would increase the percentage of Black voters represented in the Second Congressional District from 31% to 40%.
The three-judge panel for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama said earlier this month that they were “deeply disturbed” that the state’s redrawn map did not adhere to their guidance and appointed a special master to redraw the map instead.
Fox News’ Shannon Bream, Bill Mears, Chris Pandolfo, Lawrence Richard and The Associated Press contributed to this report.