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Alito writes 6-3 decision to side with South Carolina GOP in racial gerrymandering case

The Supreme Court has sided with South Carolina Republicans in a racial gerrymandering case that is the Republican-majority court’s latest ruling restricting voting rights.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote the 6-3 decision, joined by his fellow Republican appointees in the majority and Democratic appointees in dissent.

The Supreme Court banned racial gerrymandering, but allowed partisan gerrymandering. Of course, it can be difficult to distinguish between the two. Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the 5-4 decision in 2019, effectively blessing partisan gerrymandering, noted during October oral argument in that South Carolina case that “untangling race and politics in a situation like this is very, very difficult.”

Following the 2020 census, South Carolina Republicans proposed a congressional map that expelled more than 30,000 Black people from the state’s 1st Congressional District. representative Nancy Macé, RS.C., won the seat in 2020 by barely beating a Democrat. Republicans apparently didn’t want to attempt another close victory, and Mace won by a wider margin in 2022 with the new map in place.

But a three-judge panel convened in January 2023, which weighed evidence and witnesses, said South Carolina’s map was an illegal racial gerrymander that expelled Black people for primarily racial reasons. The panel cited Supreme Court precedent that sorting voters along racial lines is suspect, even if race is used as a political indicator.

Yet at oral argument in October, the Supreme Court’s Republican majority appeared poised to reinstate the map that had been found unconstitutional by the lower court. As expected, Alito’s ruling Thursday sided with the Republicans, reversing the trial court’s ruling in part and remanding the case for further proceedings.

Justice Elena Kagan wrote in the dissent that the majority is “stacking the dice” against the challengers.

This is a developing story. Please check again for updates.

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