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Supreme Court Upholds SC Redistricting Map Against Allegations of Racial Bias [VIDEO]

In a highly anticipated ruling, the United States Supreme Court voted 6-3 to overturn a lower court’s decision that deemed South Carolina’s redistricting map as unconstitutional, rejecting claims of racial discrimination.

Justice Samuel Alito, who authored the majority decision, stressed that a party contesting a map’s constitutionality must be able to separate race from politics to demonstrate that the legislature was predominantly motivated by race rather than partisanship. The 3-judge District Court’s handling of South Carolina’s redistricting efforts following the 2020 census was heavily criticized by the Supreme Court, with Alito calling their findings of fact “clearly erroneous under the appropriate legal standard.”

The case originated from a challenge by the ACLU and the NAACP, asserting that the redrawn maps post the 2020 census were illegally gerrymandered. They had hoped for the Supreme Court’s intervention to influence forthcoming congressional races. However, a federal court panel permitted the disputed maps to remain, deeming it “plainly impractical” to await the Supreme Court’s ruling.

The implications of the Supreme Court’s decision on other 2024 elections remain uncertain, with primary elections already underway in several states. The conservative majority of the high court expressed apprehension over a previous federal court mandate that directed South Carolina to produce a new congressional map in time for the November 2024 election.

The disputed map in question had drawn attention to the peripheral 1st Congressional District, currently represented by Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., following the transfer of approximately 30,000 Black voters from Charleston County to the state’s 6th Congressional District. This shift altered the political landscape of the 6th Congressional District, leading to concerns of racial gerrymandering. Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., an influential Black member of Congress, currently holds the 6th Congressional District seat.

The dissenting opinion came from Justice Elena Kagan, supported by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ketanji Brown Jackson. Kagan criticized the majority ruling, asserting that it disadvantaged the challengers and dismissed their substantial evidence, including expert statistical analyses, proving the racial implications of the state’s redistricting plan.

As a result of the high court’s delay in issuing its ruling, the contested map will persist for the 2024 elections.