State lawyers call proposed legislative districts ‘bizarre’

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The attorney general’s office said alternate legislative maps suggested by black legislators show that Alabama lawmakers made proper choices in drawing new district lines.

State lawyers in a November court filing criticized the alternate maps as “bizarre” as the two sides continued a legal back-and-forth over the state’s legislative lines.

Black members of the Alabama Legislature filed a federal lawsuit saying the GOP-controlled Alabama Legislature segregated and “stacked” black voters into designated districts, preventing them from influencing elections elsewhere. State Republicans said the lines, which were approved by the U.S Department of Justice, were fairly drawn so that districts were equally sized and varied in population by plus or minus 1 percent.

A three-judge panel asked the plaintiffs to try their hand at their own map without increasing the variance in district population size. Attorneys for the state argued the rival plan linked unlike communities.

“While Plaintiffs’ plans fall within (plus or minus 1 percent) and while some of the black-majority districts in their plans have lower black majorities, they could not reach that result without bizarre districts and retrogression to reach that point,” lawyers for the attorney general’s office wrote.

The case is back before a three-judge panel after the U.S Supreme Court sent it back for additional review.

Lawyers for black lawmakers in a Monday court filing said the state’s current districts were drawn to hit “unlawful racial targets.”

If the map is tossed, the state will have to draw new lines and hold new elections.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

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