Strange hails court decision on districts

Published 4:15 pm Monday, December 23, 2013

Attorney General Luther Strange announced recently that a federal court has ruled that the new districts for the Alabama House and Senate do not violate federal law.

The Attorney General’s Office presented evidence and legal arguments to a panel of three federal judges over several days in August, and the court issued a 173-page order and opinion today as the result of that trial.

“I am committed to protecting every citizen’s right to vote for equal representation in state government. I have believed from the beginning of this process that Alabama complied with all legal and constitutional requirements in adopting the new district lines, and I am pleased that the court agreed with our position that the new legislative districts are consistent with federal law,” Strange said.

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In 2011, the Alabama legislature adopted new districts to account for population shifts reflected in the 2010 census. After the Attorney General’s Office convinced the federal Department of Justice to preclear the new districts, a group of citizens sued under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution, claiming that the new districts were racially discriminatory. A special three-judge panel heard evidence in the case over several days of trial.

The panel concluded 2-to-1 that the new districts are not discriminatory and do not violate the Voting Rights Act or the United States Constitution.

“This was a complex case that required skilled and talented legal counsel, and it has been a top priority for my office,” Strange said. “I am proud of the evidence we presented and grateful for the attorneys who helped achieve this successful result.”

He especially commended Deputy Attorney General Jack Park and Assistant Attorneys General Jim Davis and Misty Messick for their work with the case.