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January 20, 2012
For More Information, contact:
Luther Strange
Joy Patterson (334) 242-7491
Alabama Attorney General
Suzanne Webb (334) 242-7351
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(MONTGOMERY) – Attorney General Luther Strange called a ruling today by
the U.S. Supreme Court “a tremendously important victory for the rights of state
legislatures to determine district lines for voting.” In a unanimous decision in Perry v.
Perez et al., the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a federal trial court was wrong to
disregard the Texas Legislature’s plan to redraw the State’s district lines for the
upcoming 2012 elections. The State of Alabama filed an amicus brief in support of Texas
that was joined by several other states.

Following the 2010 Census, the State of Texas redrew state legislative and
Congressional district lines due to significant changes in its population. Section 5 of the
federal Voting Rights Act requires Texas, Alabama, and several other States to seek
permission to change their election laws from either the U.S. Justice Department or the
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. As required by Section 5, Texas
submitted its new district maps for preclearance, filing this request with the U.S.
District Court for the District of Columbia. But, while the State’s preclearance request
was pending, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas prepared its own
redistricting plans, which expressly disregarded the plans already drawn by the

The State of Alabama’s amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court was joined by the
States of Virginia, Florida, South Carolina, Arizona, Georgia, Michigan and Louisiana,
which are all states covered in whole or part by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

Alabama’s brief argued that the U.S. District Court for the Western District of
Texas was wrong to disregard the legislature’s plans. “On the facts of this case, the
common sense solution is to defer to the State’s plan except to the extent it needs to be
modified for likely violations of federal law.” The brief also observed that, “the
Constitution expressly places the responsibility for congressional apportionment on
state legislatures (and) because the lower court did not find any likely violations of
federal law, the effect of the lower court’s decision is to elevate the unsubstantiated
allegations of private litigants over the plans adopted by a majority of the Texas


501 Washington Avenue Montgomery, AL 36104 (334) 242-7300
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In its ruling today, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with Alabama’s brief.
The U.S. Supreme Court held: “To avoid being compelled to make such otherwise
standardless decisions, a district court should take guidance from the State’s recently
enacted plan in drafting an interim plan. That plan reflects the State’s policy judgments
on where to place new districts and how to shift the existing ones in response to
massive population growth.” The U.S. Supreme Court went on to note in its ruling that
even though preclearance has not yet been granted, “that does not mean that the plan is
of no account or that the policy judgments it reflects can be disregarded by a district
court drawing an interim plan. On the contrary, the state plan serves as a starting point
for the district court. It provides important guidance that helps ensure that the District
Court appropriately confines itself to drawing interim maps that comply with the
Constitution and the Voting Rights Act, without displacing legitimate state policy
judgments with the court’s own preferences.”