Supreme Court rejects South Carolina voting map appeal

Supreme Court rejects South Carolina voting map appeal

The US Supreme Court on Thursday rejected an appeal against South Carolina's election map, which civil rights organizations accused of being drawn based on racial considerations.

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Democratic President Joe Biden denounced the decision, which “undermines the fundamental principle that electoral practices should not discriminate on the basis of race.”

This thorny issue could help determine who will control the US House of Representatives next year, Democrats or Republicans.

The Supreme Court, dominated by conservative justices, ruled by a 6-3 vote that the electoral map drawn by South Carolina's Republican-majority Legislature did not constitute illegal gerrymandering.

“Gerrymandering” is partisan electoral gerrymandering, which consists of changing the boundaries of electoral districts according to the interests of the ruling party. It is prohibited when done for racist reasons.

Several legal battles are underway in the United States over this practice, which can dilute minority voices.

In the South Carolina case, a three-judge federal panel ruled in January 2023 that redistricting done after the 2020 census was illegal because it was based on racial criteria, and ordered it to be redrawn before the November 2024 election. .

The Republican majority is accused of “whitewashing” a district by placing 30,000 African Americans in an already majority-black district.

The vast majority of African Americans tend to vote for the Democratic Party.

The South Carolina legislature filed an appeal against the lower court's decision, and the case ended up before the Supreme Court.

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'Dangerous scheme'

The latter, in an opinion written by conservative Justice Samuel Alito, declared that the first court's conclusion that a racial standard prevailed in redistricting the map was “manifestly false.”

“Redistricting is an inevitably political project, and the Legislature may pursue partisan goals when it engages in redistricting,” Mr. Alito said.

He continued: “When race and politics are so strongly linked, a map that has been manipulated for partisan purposes can look very much like a map carved along racial lines.”

Mr. Alito was joined by the court's five other conservative justices. The three progressives expressed their difference of opinion.

Justice Elena Kagan described the court's decision as “bad.”

She criticized, “And thus this abhorrent practice of separating citizens on the basis of racist generalizations and exploiting racial divisions will continue.”

Republicans now have a very narrow majority in the House of Representatives. The increase in the number of constituencies with a black majority could tip the scales in the legislative elections in November.

President Biden said in his press release that the Supreme Court's decision “threatens the ability of South Carolinians to make their voices heard at the ballot box.”

He said the redistricting upheld by the court is part of a dangerous pattern of racial gerrymandering attempts by Republican elected officials to weaken the will of black voters.

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About the Author: Hermínio Guimarães

"Introvertido premiado. Viciado em mídia social sutilmente charmoso. Praticante de zumbis. Aficionado por música irritantemente humilde."

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