Several Georgia voters and civil rights groups are challenging the state’s 2021 redrawn congressional district map that dilutes the voting power of Black Georgians.
A three-judge panel for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia is allowing a case challenging Georgia’s racially gerrymandered congressional district map to move forward. The case, brought by several Georgia voters, Common Cause Georgia and the League of Women Voters of Georgia will go to trial in November.
In the order issued October 17, 2023, the three-judge panel denied the motions for summary judgment filed by defendants.
Aunna Dennis, Common Cause Georgia’s executive director, applauded the court’s decision: “Having fair maps makes elected politicians responsive to the needs and wants of the people, by having elections where voters make the calls. We deserve better, and the law demands better, than the current voting maps that prevent Georgia’s communities on the margins of society from having a meaningful say in the halls of Congress. We at Common Cause Georgia are pleased to see this case continue and we look forward to when this unfair and discriminatory Congressional voting map will be struck down.”
“Congressional maps that limit representation of communities of color erode the very framework of our democracy,” said Nichola Hines, president of the League of Women Voters of Georgia. “We are pleased that our case is moving forward, and the League will continue to fight for Georgia’s communities of color to have their voices heard. Georgians of color have a right to have their needs represented in Congress and anywhere there is representative government.”
“We know that unfair maps are just another barrier used to limit the political power of communities of color in our democracy,” said Celina Stewart, chief counsel and senior director of advocacy and litigation for the League of Women Voters of the US. “We’re pleased that our case will continue as we seek to ensure the voices of communities of color in Georgia are not silenced through redistricting. The League of Women Voters will continue to fight to ensure district lines are drawn to reflect the interests of communities and voters, rather than those of politicians.”
“We are pleased the court rejected Georgia’s attempt to avoid a trial and accountability,” said Jack Genberg, senior staff attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center. “At trial, we look forward to presenting the considerable evidence that the General Assembly racially gerrymandered Georgia’s congressional districts.”
“We look forward to continuing to work alongside Southern Poverty Law Center, Common Cause, and the League of Women Voters as we move this case to trial to protect the fundamental right of communities of color in Georgia to have fair representation in our government,” said Cassandra Love, Associate at Dechert LLP.
Background: Georgia lawmakers passed a congressional voting map in November 2021, with little ability for the public to weigh in and resulting in a 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 for 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 charges that the newly drawn 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.
To read the ruling, click here.