Paramore, Flowers comment on redistricting

Published 6:45 pm Wednesday, July 19, 2023

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In June, the United States Supreme Court ruled the lines on Alabama’s current Congressional District map were in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The Plaintiff’s Remedial Map of proposed Alabama Congressional Districts.

By federal law, Alabama had to redraw its Congressional District map to reflect changes in the 2020 Census. A panel of three federal judges had previously ruled that the state’s new map discriminated against black voters because they represented 25 percent of the state’s population, but could choose their representative in only one of seven districts. The state challenged that ruling, leaving the Supreme Court to decide the case.

The Supreme Court gave Alabama until Friday to submit a new plan that would create two black Congressional districts in Alabama.

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District 80 Rep. Marcus Paramore, R-Troy, serves on the Alabama House’s State Government Committee, which approved a redistricting plan from House Speaker Pro Tem Chris Pringle, R-Mobile. The plan passed out of committee on Wednesday, passed in the House and was sent to the Alabama Senate.

“Where we’re at now, the House passed a version and the Senate has a plan that is a little different from the House,” Paramore said. “On Thursday, the conference committees will have to merge those plans and we’ll vote on the final plan on Friday.”

Paramore said the plan passed would change the Second Congressional District from 30 percent black voters to 42 percent black voters. He said the Senate plan would create a Second Congressional District that changed the number of black voters from 30 percent to 38 percent.

The Community Interest Plan map of proposed Alabama Congressional Districts.

“I can’t say 100 percent what the court will decide,” Paramore said. “But, I feel like the plan the House passed kept the Wiregrass district intact and met the criteria of the court.”

After the House and Senate pass a plan on Friday, the plan will be submitted to the three judge panel for approval.

Former District 89 representative and current political analyst Steve Flowers said it was difficult to predict what the Birmingham judges would decide.  However, Flowers said he believed the original redistricting plan filed by the plaintiff was what the court was looking for.

“The Plaintiff’s Remedial Map does what the judges are asking for,” Flowers said. “That plan was drawn up by the National Democratic Party. It protects U.S. Rep Terri Sewell’s district with a 55 percent black majority and creates a second congressional district with a black majority. I don’t think the GOP plans are what the court is looking for.”

Flowers said what would happen remained uncertain until the three judge panel in Birmingham ruled on the redrawn maps. He said there were two possibilities. The first was that the maps filed on Friday would be accepted. The second was the panel would reject the maps and institute a map of its own that satisfied the court.

When the judges would rule was also an uncertainty Flowers said.

The Supreme Court was clear that Alabama had to have new maps by Friday. But, the ruling was rather ambiguous on when the three judge panel had to rule on it. There’s some time before qualifying for the 2024 elections starts, so I don’t think they’ll issue a ruling next week.