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 plan as violating the federal Voting Rights Act (“VRA”). They alleged the plan diluted African-American voting strength in violation of § 2 of the VRA because it failed to include a second majority-minority district. They sought a judicial declaration that the plan violated the VRA, a preliminary and permanent injunction barring the plan from use in future elections, and a court order requiring the State to enact a new plan containing two majority-minority districts.

  • On November 16, 2021, the district court transferred the case to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama where other redistricting lawsuits were already pending.
  • On January 24, 2022, the district court issued a preliminary injunction after finding the plaintiffs were “substantially likely” to prevail on their VRA § 2 claim and gave the State 14 days to pass a remedial plan. The State appealed to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and requested an emergency stay from the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • On February 7, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court (“SCOTUS”) stayed the district court’s preliminary injunction, thereby allowing the plan to be used in the 2022 election. The Court also decided to hear the State’s appeal directly by treating the stay petition as a petition for certiorari before judgment.
  • SCOTUS oral arguments were held on October 4, 2022.
  • On June 8, 2023, SCOTUS affirmed the district court’s preliminary injunction in a 5-4 decision written by Chief Justice Roberts and joined by Justices Kavanaugh, Kagan, Sotomayor, and Jackson.
  • On July 21, 2023, Alabama repealed its congressional plan and enacted a new one (“2023 plan”). On August 14, 2023, the district court held a hearing to consider the plaintiffs’ objections to the 2023 plan.
  • On September 5, 2023, the district court issued an injunction barring the 2023 plan from being used in future elections after finding it failed to remedy the § 2 VRA violation. The court appointed a special master and directed them to file 3 proposed remedial plans by September 25, 2023. Alabama sought an emergency stay from SCOTUS but it was rejected on September 26.
  • The district court held a hearing on the special master’s remedial plans on October 3, 2023, and two days later the district court selected the special master’s “Remedial Plan 3” to be used in 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