House members who authored the legislation have long claimed they had no ill intent in redrawing the districts, saying that the overall changes in the bill had been requested by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
The lawsuit, however, claimed the changes to Districts 105 and 111 in particular show how the bill “specifically targets districts where white Republicans have become increasingly vulnerable to challenge by African-American Democratic candidates, moving voters in and out of House districts based on their race so as to shore up the incumbent Republicans’ prospects in future elections.”
It also noted the state’s history of racial discrimination, saying changes that once may have been reviewed under a now-defunct portion of the Voting Rights Act needed intervention by a federal court.
It’s a challenge that has national implications, coming as the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday heard arguments over alleged gerrymandering in a Wisconsin case involving election maps for state lawmakers there. A three-judge panel ruled last year that those maps were drawn so heavily toward Republicans that they violated Democratic voters’ constitutional rights, a decision the nation’s highest court is now reviewing.
The Georgia suit also follows a similar one filed here in April by the national Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which also targeted the 2015 redistricting effort over the same two districts.