We’ll never know why the U.S. Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that racial gerrymandering is illegal. After all, this same Supreme Court is just fine with gerrymandering in general – just not racial gerrymandering. Then again, when it comes to this incoherently unhinged Supreme Court, you have to take the wins it decides to hand you and put them to good use, rather than just sitting around lamenting about the bad rulings it makes.
To that end, once the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against racial gerrymandering, it was a roughly 100% guarantee that states like Alabama (and Louisiana and North Carolina) would end up having redrawn maps before the 2024 election. The state governments can play all the games they want, but there’s no such thing as “running out the clock” in this situation. State governments can get into lengthy battles over redistricting with state Supreme Courts, but that’s not a thing when the U.S. Supreme Court has weighed in.
So when Alabama Republicans submitted a “revised” map that still didn’t fit the requirements laid out in the original Supreme Court ruling, it was no surprise at all that the judge in the case rejected the map and ordered that one be drawn by an arbitrator. And when Alabama Republicans then appealed this ruling back to the Supreme Court, it was no surprise at all that they lost this ruling on Tuesday. Even this whacked out Supreme Court wasn’t going to overturn a ruling that it just handed down a few months ago.
This is the latest reminder that racially gerrymandered states like Alabama absolutely will have redrawn maps heading into 2024 which will finally allow for proper representation for Black voters in those states. Moreover, these maps will be redrawn with plenty of time for candidates to figure out what districts they’re running in. And this will effectively serve to hand the Democratic Party about five U.S. House seats that they were supposed to have had to begin with. That in turn will set up a very close battle for the House majority in 2024, which could come down to one seat either way.
So even as Alabama Republicans continue to waste a lot of money on lawyers to make these ongoing nonsense filings in this case, keep in mind that this is NOT a “delay tactic.” You can’t call something a delay tactic if it has zero chance of delaying anything. This battle was already fought and won a long time ago. States like Alabama will have fairly drawn House maps in 2024, whether they redraw the maps themselves or whether an arbitrator draws them.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report