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Supreme Court rules in favor of Black voters in Alabama and protects landmark Voting Rights Act

Rodney Coates, Professor of Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, Miami University, The Conversation on

Published in News & Features

In order to avoid creating racially designated legislative districts, Congress established that the electoral process should allow for the equal participation of all racial groups, Roberts wrote in his opinion.

Roberts’ thinking in Allen vs. Milligan is radically different from the one he held when he was an attorney serving in the U.S. Department of Justice during the Reagan administration. Then, Roberts wrote 25 memos in opposition to the VRA, specifically in reference to section 2.

Only Roberts knows why his perspective has changed over time. But perhaps Alabama went too far, too fast and was too partisan.

“States shouldn’t let race be the primary factor in deciding how to draw boundaries but it should be a consideration,” Roberts wrote. “The line we have drawn is between consciousness and predominance.”

Roberts went further by citing the repugnant racial history of Alabama.

Even as the Black population increased to over 27% of the state’s population over the past 30 years, the number of Black districts remained at one, largely because white conservatives have used their control of the state legislature to dilute the strength of Black voters.


While a breath of fresh air for voting rights activists, this ruling does not mean that white conservatives will cease their attack.

GOP-controlled congressional maps diluting or eliminating Black districts have been drawn in multiple states, including Louisiana, Georgia, Ohio and Texas. These efforts could significantly alter the 2024 electoral map.

Several lawsuits are currently working their way through the courts across the country in states such as Florida, Arkansas, South Carolina and New York.

Across the country, there has been a concerted effort to restrict voting and control the election machinery and even the outcome of these votes.


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