Holder redistricting group backs lawsuits for 3 additional majority-black congressional districts

Holder redistricting group backs lawsuits for 3 additional majority-black congressional districts
© Getty Images

A group backed by former U.S. Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderFBI, Justice Dept plan to redact Russia documents despite Trump order for full declassification: report Dem lawmakers slam Trump’s declassification of Russia documents as ‘brazen abuse of power’ Dem lawmaker jabs Trump call for transparency by asking for his tax returns MORE is fighting for additional majority-black congressional districts in Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana according to three new lawsuits filed Wednesday.

The National Redistricting Foundation (NRF), an arm of Holder's National Democratic Redistricting Committee, says it’s working to get black voters an equal opportunity to elect their chosen candidates.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of black residents in the states, alleges that each state violated the Voting Rights Act in redistricting in 2011 by preventing black voters from being able to elect representatives of their choice to the U.S. House of Representatives.

In Alabama, NRF alleges that Republicans carefully distributed black voters between three congressional districts and packed African-American voters into Congressional District 7 now held by Rep. Terri SewellTerrycina (Terri) Andrea SewellDemocrats unite to expand Social Security Senate panel postpones election security bill markup over lack of GOP support Hillicon Valley: FBI fires Strzok after anti-Trump tweets | Trump signs defense bill with cyber war policy | Google under scrutiny over location data | Sinclair's troubles may just be beginning | Tech to ease health data access | Netflix CFO to step down MORE (D), which is already a majority-minority district. The suit contends that lawmakers should have created a new majority-minority district.

Georgia lawmakers, meanwhile, allegedly failed to draw an additional majority-minority congressional district where black voters were geographically compact, instead spreading voters among three other districts to dilute black voters' voting power, according to the suit.

In Louisiana, the lawsuit alleges state lawmakers packed black voters into the state’s sole majority-minority district and divided black voters between several congressional districts, instead of creating another majority-minority district.

“The current maps are clear violations of the Voting Rights Act that deny African Americans the equal opportunity to elect their candidates of choice,” Holder said in a statement. 

“The creation of additional districts in which African-Americans have the opportunity to elect their preferred candidates in each of these states will be an important step toward making the voting power of African-Americans more equal and moving us closer to the ideals of our representative democracy.”

But Matt Walter, president of the Republican State Leadership Committee, argued that Democrats are trying to win congressional seats through litigation. 

“Fast and Furious Eric Holder is again resorting to cheap politically-motivated stunts aimed at taking away authority from legislators accountable to the people in an attempt to draw district lines after Democrats have lost nearly 1,000 state legislative seats since 2010,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.

"The cynical lawsuits filed today by Holder and the Democrats are crass attempts to rally the left-wing base and to elect more Democrats through litigation, instead of running winning campaigns on policies and ideas that voters actually want.”

Numerous states are facing legal challenges alleging racial or political gerrymandering in state legislative districts or the U.S. House.

Updated 5:58 p.m.