Gov. Brian Kemp signed the new maps creating a new congressional district in north metro Atlanta into law last December. That was a month after the state legislature passed the plans and organizations readied the appropriate lawsuits in response. They couldn’t file them, however, until Kemp actually signed the plans, creating the very time crunch that Jones used to keep the newly drawn maps in place.
In one of the suits launched by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity among other organizations, the plaintiffs sought a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief to block the new maps from going into effect.
Attorneys stated in the lawsuit:
In the wake of the growth of communities of color in Georgia, which was reflected in the 2020 elections and the January 2021 Senate runoffs, the State of Georgia has drawn its Congressional and State legislative maps in violation of the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act. Reverting to the strategies of the Jim Crow era, Georgia has employed the two classic tactics of gerrymandering to tilt the balance of electoral power to the White majority: “cracking” (diluting the voting power of voters of color across many districts) and “packing” (concentrating the voting power of voters of color in one district to reduce and dilute their voting power in other districts). These redistricting techniques undermine the voting rights of Georgia’s Black, Hispanic/Latino (“Latinx”) and Asian American Pacific Islander(“AAPI”) citizens, and deny them an equal opportunity to elect candidates of their choice.
Jones called the order “the right decision,” but a “difficult” one that the court “did not make lightly.” Georgia’s population has increased by about 1 million people since 2010, and most of that growth has happened in Black and brown communities.The population of Black Georgia residents alone grew by almost 500,000, but there are no new congressional districts in which mainly people of color vote, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Jones based his decision on a recent U.S. Supreme Court case in which justices decided a lower court’s redistricting ruling would remain in place in Alabama, thereby similarly allowing Republicans in the state to dilute the impact of Black voters.
Wendy Weiser, who directs the democracy program at the Brennan Center for Justice, tweeted in response to such decisions: “It is a huge miscarriage of justice & distortion of democracy that in so many states the 2022 elections will be held under clearly discriminatory & illegal maps, based on a judge-made doctrine that was radically expanded in SCOTUS’s shadow docket, w/o argument or justification.”