Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama

In Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama, 135 S. Ct. 1257, 1272, 191 L. Ed. 2d 314 (2015), the Supreme Court emphasized that it is the "ability to elect a preferred candidate of choice," not "a particular numerical minority percentage," that is the pertinent point of reference. The language of the Voting Rights Act that protects against adopting a redistricting plan that "has the purpose of or will have the effect of diminishing the ability of the minority group to elect their preferred candidates of choice"--language incorporated into our tier-one state constitutional standards--"does not require maintaining the same population percentages." Id. at 1272-73. Instead, the Supreme Court has told us, this requirement "is satisfied if minority voters retain the ability to elect their preferred candidates." Id. at 1273. Providing an example, the Supreme Court stated that "it would seem highly unlikely that a redistricting plan that, while increasing the numerical size of the district, reduced the percentage of the black population from, say, 70% to 65% would have a significant impact on the black voters' ability to elect their preferred candidate." Id.