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Supreme Court lets GOP-drawn Alabama congressional map stay in place

Supreme Court lets GOP-drawn Alabama congressional map stay in place

(CNN)The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, allowed a congressional map drawn by Alabama Republicans to remain in place Monday, freezing a lower court ruling that said the map likely violates the Voting Rights Act.

The lower court had ordered a new map to be drawn, which could have led to Democrats gaining another seat in the House in the fall.

Chief Justice John Roberts joined the three liberal justices in dissent.

    The justices also said they would hear arguments over the map, adding another potentially explosive issue — concerning the scope of a key provision of the Voting Rights Act — to the court’s docket.

      The court’s order, the first dealing with the 2022 elections, means that the map will be used for the state’s upcoming primary, and likely be in place for the entire election cycle, while the legal challenge plays out.

        The order pauses an opinion by a panel of three judges that held that the Alabama map likely violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act because it only includes one district where Black voters have the opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice.

        Justice Brett Kavanaugh, writing for himself and fellow conservative Justice Samuel Alito, said the court acted in order to maintain the status quo while the justices consider the issue. Kavanaugh said the court’s order “does not make or signal any change” to voting rights law.

          But Roberts, who again found himself siding with the court’s three liberals, said that while he agreed the court should take up the issue for next term to “resolve the wide ranging uncertainties” in the case, he would have allowed the district court opinion to stand while the appeals process played out.

            “The District Court properly applied existing law in an extensive opinion with no apparent errors for our correction,” Roberts wrote.

            This story is breaking and will be updated.