Supreme Court to decide if South Carolina district is racially gerrymandered

Published: Oct. 11, 2023 at 4:11 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Voting rights groups say South Carolina’s election map makers had race at the top of mind when they moved 30,000 black voters out of Nancy Mace’s First Congressional district.

Marvin Neal is with the South Carolina NAACP.

“Someone moved 30,000 votes, and it didn’t happen by itself,” South Carolina NAACP Third Vice Chair Marvin Neal said. “It just did not happen. It was racial gerrymandering.”

In 2019, the Supreme Court ruled it is too complicated for the high court to get involved in partisan gerrymandering cases. But earlier this year, the court tossed out an Alabama congressional map for racial gerrymandering.

South Carolina Republicans need to convince the court they had only party in mind.

“The General Assembly pursued a political goal of increasing District One’s Republican vote share,” Attorney John M. Gore told Supreme Court justices. “It achieved that goal by moving Republicans into the district, and Democrats out of the district. All of the direct evidence confirms that it used political data, not racial data, to identify Republicans and Democrats.”

A federal three-judge panel ruled the South Carolina map was racially gerrymandered, so Republicans will need the Supreme Court to overrule the lower court to keep their map.

“We think that today, in today’s environment, with voting rights on the front burner, that we will get a favorable outcome,” SC Counts Field Coordinator Charles Mann said.

Both sides have asked the Supreme Court to rule in the next several months, so the Congressional map can be set for the 2024 election.