On November 4, 2021, a group of African-American Alabama voters filed a federal lawsuit against Alabama's Secretary of State challenging the state's enacted congressional redistricting plan as violating the federal Voting Rights Act. Specifically, plaintiffs assert that the enacted congressional plan violates Section 2 of the VRA because it dilutes African-American voting strength by strategically "cracking" and "packing" African-American voters to form a single majority-minority congressional district when, as plaintiffs allege, Alabama's African-American population is sufficiently large and geographically compact enough to form a majority of eligible voters in two congressional districts. Plaintiffs are seeking a judicial declaration that Alabama's enacted congressional plan violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, an injunction barring the plan from being implemented or used in future elections, and for the court to cause the adoption of a valid congressional plan that includes a second majority-African-American district. On November 16, 2021, the court transferred the case to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama where other redistricting challenges were already pending.

On January 24, 2022, the court issued an opinion granting in part the plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction on the grounds the plaintiffs are "substantially likely" to establish the existence of a Section 2 violation in Alabama's congressional redistricting plan. The court found that Black Alabamians are sufficiently numerous and sufficiently geographically compact to constitute a voting-age majority in a second congressional district, voting in the challenged districts is intensely racially polarized, and under the totality of circumstances, Black voters have less opportunity than other Alabamians to elect candidates of their choice. The court ordered the state legislature to pass a remedial redistricting plan within 14 days which contained either a second majority-Black congressional district or a second district in which Black Alabamians have the opportunity to elect the candidate of their choice, and included a contingency that the court would appoint a special master to draw a plan in the event the state failed to do so. Shortly thereafter, the defendants appealed the decision to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and sought an emergency stay pending appeal from the U.S. Supreme Court.

On February 7, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the district court's preliminary injunction order, thereby allowing the plan to be used for the upcoming 2022 election, and treated the stay application as a petition for a writ of certiorari before judgment and granted it. On June 28, the Court stayed and granted certiorari before judgment to a similar appeal of a Section 2 preliminary injunction out of Louisiana, Ardoin v. Robinson, and stated it would hold the case in abeyance pending its decision in Merrill. Oral arguments were held on October 4, 2022.

The Supreme Court issued a fragmented opinion on June 8, 2023. The opinion affirmed the lower court's finding that plaintiffs were reasonably likely to succeed in their claims that Alabama's congressional map violated Section 2.

Alabama repealed and replaced its congressional map in July 2023 and the Singleton plaintiffs objected to the new plan. The district court in Alabama enjoined the use of the new plan and proceeded to impose a remedial plan for the 2024 elections.

Related Cases: Milligan v. Merrill; Robinson v. Ardoin; Galmon v. Ardoin

Similar Cases: Singleton v. Merrill


U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama - No. 2:21-cv-1536 [formerly No. 2:21-cv-751, transferred from M.D. Ala.]

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit - No. 22-10272

Supreme Court of the United States - No. 21-1087 [Together with No. 21-1086] [Formerly No. 21A376, Application for Stay]

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama - No. 2:21-cv-1536 [Remand]

Supreme Court of the United States - No. 23A241