Democrats Fume After GOP Wins Election Map Battle

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

( – On Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of South Carolina Republicans, overturning a lower court’s decision that their electoral map—which shifted 30,000 Black voters from one congressional district to another—violated the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause. This amendment ensures equal protection under the law.

The lower court had previously ruled on March 28, but due to the time taken by the Supreme Court to respond, it allowed the controversial map to be used in this year’s congressional elections. This decision could potentially affect the Democrats’ chances of regaining control of the House.

The case has been under close scrutiny, especially with the upcoming Nov. 5 U.S. elections, where the presidency and congressional control are at stake. After losing their majority in the 2022 elections, the Democrats are looking to reclaim control from the Republicans, who currently hold a 217-213 advantage in the House.

The case originated from the 2022 redistricting by South Carolina’s Republican-controlled legislature, which involved redrawing the state’s seven U.S. House districts. The redistricting particularly affected a district that includes Charleston on the Atlantic coast.

In January 2023, a federal three-judge panel found the redistricting to be a stark example of racial gerrymandering, accusing the state legislature of deliberately dividing Black neighborhoods in Charleston County to diminish their electoral influence, favoring white voters. Gerrymandering refers to the manipulation of electoral district boundaries to sideline a particular group of voters and enhance another’s influence.

Every decade, following the U.S. census, district boundaries are redrawn to reflect population changes, usually by the ruling party of each state. The criticized map significantly increased the proportion of white voters while reducing Black voters’ representation in what the lower court described as a process of “bleaching.”

Specifically, the map transferred 30,000 Black residents from the 1st congressional district to the 6th district, which is over 125 miles inland and has been represented by Democrat Jim Clyburn, a prominent Black congressman, for thirty years. The three-judge panel described this as an unlawful “exile” of voters.

Previously, under the old boundaries, Republican Nancy Mace narrowly won her seat in 2020 by just over 1 percentage point. Following the redistricting, she secured re-election in 2022 by a margin of 14 percentage points.

The Supreme Court’s decision arrived after hearing arguments in October, with the parties involved urging a resolution before the end of 2023.

In a related decision on May 15, the Supreme Court restored a Louisiana electoral map that introduced two Black-majority U.S. House districts instead of just one, temporarily reversing a lower court’s decision to discard the map, thus allowing its use in this year’s elections.

Copyright 2024,