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This past week a stunning ruling by a three member panel of the United States 11th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked a redistricting plan drawn up by the Alabama Legislature.
The court ruled that the lawmakers now have until February 11 to draw up a new map that would create two congressional districts in Alabama that minority candidates could win in the upcoming 2022 elections.
Doing this will be no easy task for legislators without further dividing local communities, possibly pitting incumbents against each other and trying to get this done in time for this to get approved by the court with the party primaries in less than just four months.
This is not the first time the courts have forced the legislature to redraw districts, but the current make up of six Republican and one Democratic district has survived 20 years of scrutiny. However, Alabama lawmakers did not help themselves with the lack of transparency in the way they drew the maps these past years.
Now Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall is appealing the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, but there is no guarantee the court will reinstate the original districts. If the state loses, conservative Alabama may lose a Republican congressman. And if that happens look for similar lawsuits in other states with a GOP majority.
What we do know for certain is that this ruling could have major political implications not only for the state of Alabama, but for the rest of the nation.
Paul DeMarco is a former member of the Alabama House of Representatives.