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County Allowed To Use A Map Judges Deemed A Racial Gerrymander By Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has allowed Galveston County in Texas to use a contentious electoral map in the upcoming election, criticized for racial gerrymandering. Gerrymandering is the strategic manipulation of electoral district boundaries aimed at unfairly benefiting a political party, group, or socioeconomic class within the constituency.

Supported by the conservative majority, the decision permits the utilization of a 2021 map challenged for violating the Voting Rights Act by erasing the county's lone majority-minority precinct. Plaintiffs, emphasizing discrimination against Black and Latino voters, contend the map aims to disadvantage minority communities.

Justice Elena Kagan dissented, expressing worry that the decision sanctions discarding a map considered lawful by a district court judge, nearly identical to longstanding maps. Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ketanji Brown Jackson joined Kagan's dissent. Emergency requests to halt the 2021 map's implementation were denied for voters and civil rights groups.

The legal dispute revolves around interpreting the 1965 Voting Rights Act, specifically whether a majority-minority district is obligatory when the minority group forms a coalition instead of a singular racial or ethnic bloc. This disputed precinct, with a 58% minority vote combining Black and Latino voters, is central to this debate. 

The county argues coalitions aren't a protected group under the Voting Rights Act, advocating for the 2021 map's validity, establishing white majorities in all four precincts. The appeals court's potential overturning of its precedent complicates matters, temporarily halting the district court's ruling.

Link: NBC News


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