Election Fight Hits SCOTUS – Final Decision LOOMS

(USNewsMag.com) – On May 15, the Supreme Court announced it would review a decision by a lower court which struck down a South Carolina congressional district, saying it was illegally racially gerrymandered.

In January, a court issued a ruling that one of seven newly drawn districts that covers Charleston as well as Charleston County, was drawn in a way that dilutes the power of Black voters. The court issued the ruling unanimously after an eight-day trial. The 1st congressional district is currently represented by Nancy Mace, who is a Republican. Led by South Carolina Senate President Thomas Alexander, Republicans are contesting the ruling.

The boundaries were redrawn by the South Carolina Legislature after the 2020 census. In 2018, the district was won by Democrat Joe Cunningham, with Mace then winning in 2020. In 2022, the first time the new map was drawn, Mace won by a greater margin than 2020. 

Both the NAACP Legal Defense as well as the Educational Fund allege that Republicans targeted Black voters as almost 30,000 were moved from the district into another one. The map was originally challenged by South Carolina voter Taiwan Scott as well as the South Carolina NAACP.

According to lawyers representing South Carolina Republican legislators, the panel should have operated on the idea that the Legislature was acting in good faith when the new districts were drawn. 

The Supreme Court was asked to take up the case by the lawyer representing the South Carolina Republicans. The attorney argued politics were taken into consideration by Republicans in the South Carolina Legislature, who stated race was not the predominant factor in its decision-making process.

The case will not be heard by the Supreme Court until next term.

The Supreme Court is also set to rule in the next six weeks on an Alabama case that involves racial gerrymandering.

In 2019, the Supreme Court ruled that federal courts can’t review cases involving partisan gerrymandering.

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