GOP State Leaders Hit With Federal Lawsuit Over Gerrymandering That Hurts Marginalized Groups

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A new lawsuit has been filed against gerrymandering that opponents insist stands to benefit the Republican Party at the expense of marginalized communities. Republicans remain often insistent on this path when in control of redistricting, having infamously refused in recent proceedings in the Alabama legislature to enact a second Congressional district where Black voters would comprise the majority, despite pressure from the U.S. Supreme Court.

The new case deals with Congressional and state Senate district lines in Tennessee, where plaintiffs say that Black communities in locales including Nashville and Memphis have seen their voices effectively diluted through the reformulation of local district lines that followed the last census. Davidson County, which includes Nashville, now has portions in three separate Congressional districts, and in none of those three districts is it evident that Black communities will be able to select their candidate of choice in the Congressional races.

The “Congressional and State Senate plans were both passed hastily, without any meaningful consideration given to public testimony against the plans or to several proposed amendments that might have alleviated the impact of the discriminatory intent animating the plans—including several amendments introduced by Black legislators,” plaintiffs argued in a portion highlighted by the voting rights organization Democracy Docket. Plaintiffs include the Tennessee State Conference of the NAACP, the League of Women Voters of Tennessee, the African American Clergy Collective of Tennessee, and various individuals from the state. The plaintiffs are alleging violations of provisions in the Constitution.

In other electoral news, Ohio voters recently resoundingly rejected a proposed amendment to their state Constitution that would have dramatically increased the thresholds for passing subsequent amendments to the document. The controversial updates were understood to have a specific target, as Ohio residents will be voting later this year on whether to add protections for abortion to the state’s guiding document. State officials had rushed into the August vote on this potentially destabilizing procedural change.