Case challenged Georgia’s 2021 redrawn congressional district map that dilutes the voting power of Black Georgians now stayed by federal court.
ATLANTA — A three-judge panel for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia issued a stay in Common Cause v. Raffensperger, the federal court challenge of Georgia’s 2021 congressional voting map. The trial set to begin on November 13, 2023 has been postponed in light of the state defendants’ decision to not seek a stay pending appeal of a separate challenge to the maps that resulted in a court ruling that found that map in violation of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). That ruling ordered the Georgia Legislature to draw new Congressional and state legislative voting maps by December 8, 2023. The Georgia General Assembly will convene in a special session beginning November 29, 2023 to consider new voting maps.
“While we were looking forward to our day in court to fight for Georgia’s voters that have been unconstitutionally discriminated against in the current congressional voting map, we are pleased that the state will be moving forward with drawing new maps ahead of the 2024 election cycle,” said Aunna Dennis, Executive Director of Common Cause Georgia. “We call on the state legislature to follow the court’s order and draw maps that empower Black voters in Georgia and give them the opportunity to elect their candidates of choice. We look forward to participating in the upcoming remedial redistricting process in a few weeks.”
Background: Georgia lawmakers passed a congressional voting map in November 2021, with limited public input and produced discriminatory map that disenfranchised Black voters.
A federal lawsuit was brought on behalf of Common Cause, the League of Women Voters of Georgia and individual Georgians in January 2022 on the basis that racially gerrymandered maps manipulated Georgia’s 6th, 13th and 14th Congressional districts in a way that makes it difficult for Black Georgians to elect Congressional representatives of their choice. Plaintiffs are represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center and Dechert LLP.
The complaint argues that the congressional redistricting map violates the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by intentionally denying Black communities in Georgia representation and therefore equal protection of the law.
On May 30, a three-judge panel in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta division) held a hearing to consider a motion for summary judgment from Georgia’s Secretary of State. On October 17, the panel denied the defendants’ motions for summary judgment. Trial was set to begin mid-November. The court issued an order staying the case pending the state’s drawing of new remedial maps later this year.
To read the full ruling, click here.