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Supreme Court takes up race and the role it plays in redistricting

Merrill v Milligan is out of Alabama and could impact the country
Posted at 11:02 AM, Oct 04, 2022

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court began its latest term this week and the nine justices didn't wait long to weigh into another hot-button issue: race.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case Merrill v. Milligan.

At its core, the case out of Alabama addresses whether lawmakers drew a fair and legal map during the latest round of redistricting.

From the line of questioning during Tuesday's hearing, it was apparent that the court's three liberal justices believe the state is disenfranchising Black voters.

"That's not a race-neutral or race-blind idea," said Ketanji Brown Jackson, who began her first term on the court this week.

Alabama's electorate is about a quarter Black.

One of seven House districts that were drawn is a majority-minority district.

How the justices rule could impact the Voting Rights Act and the process for drawing districts in every state across the country.

The New York Times reports that the court's conservative majority appeared to be searching for a narrow path to uphold the map.

However, a law professor from UCLA told The Times that it's unclear how the justices will ultimately decide.

“If one just listened to the oral argument, one might think that these justices are up for grabs in this case,” Richard L. Hasen told the publication.

This isn't the only case involving race the Supreme Court will hear this term.

In a few weeks, the Supreme Court will take up affirmative action and the role race should play in the college admission process.

An opinion on Merrill v Milligan is not expected for several months.