A federal judge on Thursday upheld orders that the Georgia Legislature draw a voting map that allowed black voters an equal chance to elect representatives of their choice, signing new districts created earlier this month.
The Republican-led Legislature drew new state and congressional maps during a December special session after a federal judge in Atlanta said the original districts drawn after the 2020 census violated the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Democrats and black voters in the state opposed the new maps, which created an additional majority-black congressional district, but did not favor Representative Lucy McBath, a Democratic congresswoman. It also ensured that Republican incumbents in both the State House and Washington were protected from a primary political challenger to their seats.
But Judge Steve C. of the Northern District of Georgia Jones, who first attacked the maps in late October, said the Legislature has now done enough to comply with the Voting Rights Act.
“The Court finds that the General Assembly fully complied with this Court's mandate to create a majority black congressional district in the region of the state where voting dilution was found,” Judge Jones said. Nominated for his position By President Barack Obama.
Beyond the question of fair representation, there were additional political stakes. With the House of Representatives narrowly divided and black voters historically inclined to support Democrats in the state, a new map had the potential to tip the balance of power in Washington.
In Alabama, a challenge brought by black voters led to a surprise Supreme Court ruling this summer that upheld a central tenet of the Voting Rights Act, ordering a federal court to independently draw a new map after finding the legislature had failed. Address existing inequalities in the state.
Similar challenges are going on in other states as well.
Challenges to state and congressional districts in Georgia were brought by several plaintiffs, including members of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, the nation's oldest black fraternity. Both organizations represent hundreds of members in the state of Georgia.
The redistricting feud occurred after Democrats overthrew Republican dominance in the state over several election cycles, part of a significant growth in black voter turnout since 2000 that elected and then dispatched a Democrat for president for the first time since 1992. Two Democrats in the Senate in 2021.
Republicans repeatedly tried to downplay that influence during a special session in early December.
The new maps created the most majority-black district in the state, with Republicans also unseating Ms. McBath, a black Democrat who represents large parts of Fulton and Gwinnett counties in Atlanta's northeast suburbs. They also secured the party's four-seat majority in the state Congress delegation.