By Postal Staff from News Sources
Judge Steve C. Jones of the Northern District of Georgia criticized the redistricting maps drawn by the Republican-controlled Legislature to meet the requirements of 2020 census data, ruling that new maps must be re-drawn to provide a fair one and ensure fair representation for Black voters before the 2024 election.
In his ruling, Jones mandates that the Georgia state legislature draw up new maps no later than December 8th. In his timeline, he wrote: “If an acceptable remedy is not provided, there will be time for the court to issue one.”
The principle of requiring Republican cartographers to act expeditiously and deliberately was invoked to send a clear message to Georgia and its people that one-third of the state’s black population should not be excluded.
Jones’ 506-page decision said the court “will not allow another election cycle on redistricting plans” found to be unlawful.
According to the Associated Press, Jones “ordered the state to create two new black-majority districts in the 56-member Georgia State Senate and five new black-majority districts in the 180-member state House of Representatives.”
Jones’ decision clearly demonstrated that he understood the geopolitical significance of Atlanta as a place, the struggles and voices that helped persuade Congress and the President to sign the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
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In his decision, Jones wrote: “Georgia has made great strides toward electoral equality since 1965. However, the evidence before this court shows that Georgia has not yet reached the point where the political process offers equal openness and equal opportunities for all.”
Jones’ federal court ruling in Georgia will also impact allegations of voter discrimination made in other Southern states by Republicans who are now trying to justify congressional plans that appear to discriminate against black voters.
Reacting to the Jones ruling, Bishop Reginald T. Jackson, one of the plaintiffs in the case and presiding prelate of the Sixth Episcopal District, said: “Although it has been a long road to justice, the decision reaffirms what so many of us have already done “Knew that extremists in our own legislature were actually illegally mapping congressional and legislative districts to weaken the voices of Black voters in Georgia.”
After quoting Frederick Douglass, who once said, “Power admits nothing without demanding it,” Jackson also said in a statement, “Together, the people of Georgia and our justice system have now demanded that those in power right this wrong “I hope that the process of the current redistricting of Georgia will be carried out quickly and thoroughly and in accordance with the letter of the law.”
The sixth episcopal district of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) includes churches in the state of Georgia with a total of over 90,000 parishioners.