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Opinion | John Roberts and Racial Gerrymandering

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Gerrymandering strictly by race is illegal, so how can it be required? According to Alabama, that’s the question Tuesday at the Supreme Court in Merrill v. Milligan, a case involving the state’s recent redrawing of its U.S. House map. The new districts resemble the status quo, with one majority-black seat in the southeast. The state says it used 2020 Census data merely to enact “race-neutral adjustments for small shifts in population.”

But Alabama has seven House seats, so one majority-black district comes out to 14%, while 26% of the state’s voting-age population is black. A federal court said in January that Alabama is required by the Voting Rights Act (VRA) to create a second majority-black district, which would be 29% representation. Is this the law, or is it another misguided effort in what Chief Justice John Roberts once called a “sordid business, this divvying us up by race”?



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