DiCello Levitt Civil Rights Practice Secures Preliminary Injunction Prohibiting Racial Gerrymandering in Alabama

Jan 28, 2022

DiCello Levitt’s Civil Rights practice, co-chaired by partner Diandra “Fu” Debrosse Zimmermann, achieved a preliminary injunction this week in federal court prohibiting Alabama from using a racially gerrymandered congressional map in future elections.

The federal lawsuit alleges that the congressional redistricting plan Alabama enacted in 2011 is malapportioned and racially gerrymandered because it packs Black voters into a single voting district and minimizes their influence in five majority-white districts.

Alabama’s traditional redistricting principle was to draw congressional districts with whole counties. But since 1982, the state legislature has drawn gerrymandered districts that split seven counties and divide Montgomery County into three districts. The lawsuit asks Alabama to reinstate the traditional whole county principle. “It is high time Alabama restored the integrity of county boundaries, which will advance the representation of Black citizens and provide fair representation of all Alabamians,” commented Fu.

The court’s January 20, 2022, preliminary injunction order recognizes that the enacted congressional districts are likely to violate the Voting Rights Act and ordered the state legislature to draw a new map including a second majority-Black district.

“This achievement speaks to DiCello Levitt’s true commitment to securing justice for all,” said Fu. “As a result of this preliminary injunction, Black voters in Alabama will have the opportunity to elect candidates of their choice.”

As the Alabama Legislature goes back to the drawing board, associate Eli Hare, who spearheaded DiCello Levitt’s work on the week-long preliminary injunction hearing, looks toward the future. “We are moving in the right direction,” remarked Eli. “We won’t stop fighting civil rights injustices, no matter where or when they occur.”

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