Other states “have to actually comply with the Voting Rights Act now,” said John Bisognano, the chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee. He expressed relief at the outcome, pointing to “an alternate reality where this just went in a different direction, and there was obviously a concern that they could have gone in a different direction.”
In Alabama, voting rights advocates and local leaders said the ruling could end a sense of apathy that has permeated the state across the political spectrum, as many residents had begun to feel that elections were done and their ballots were few and far between. made a difference.
“It’s a great day in Alabama,” said Bobby Singleton, a Democrat and African-American from Greensboro who serves as Senate Minority Leader. But Mr. Singleton also said, “Racism is still very much alive in the state of Alabama, and the Supreme Court has been able to see it.”
Robyn Hyden, the executive director of Alabama Arise, which focuses on policies to support poor residents, said she wasn’t sure what to expect from the court, but she felt there was a solid case to be made. “Their reasons and their arguments served me well,” she said.
She argued that the geography of the Seventh Congressional District, represented by Mrs. Sewell and covering much of the state, illustrated what made the map so problematic. “The idea that someone who lives in Northern Birmingham has the same political interests as someone who lives all the way in Clarke County, which is near the Gulf Coast of the state, is pretty ridiculous,” she said. “It’s a four-hour drive.”
“There are people in that district who are in the Black Belt, the poorest part of our state,” she added. “There are people in that district who live in the largest cities in our state. It was really hard to imagine how gerrymandered Birmingham and Montgomery have been, and how it has kept our regions from having political representation.
Richard Fauset And Bryant K. Oden reporting contributed.