October 4, 2022

The Packed U.S. Supreme Court Threatens What Remains of the Voting Rights Act

Contact: Nancy Rodriguez, 

Washington, DC — The U.S. Supreme Court’s new term started on Monday, October 3. Today, the Court heard oral argument in Merrill v. Milligan, a case regarding Alabama’s racially gerrymandered congressional map. A district court previously imposed a preliminary injunction on Alabama’s congressional map due to the substantial likelihood that it violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The Supreme Court stayed the lower court’s injunction when it opted to take the case, which, regardless of the outcome in the case, means that Alabama voters will go to the polls this November in racially gerrymandered districts.

“As Justice Kagan said today, this is a ‘slam dunk’ case of a congressional map that violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act,” said ACS Executive Vice President Zinelle October. “And yet, we confront the real possibility that this packed Supreme Court will ignore that blatant violation and instead use this case as an opportunity to destroy what little remains of the VRA. This would be devastating for representative democracy in this country – and would put an end to any lingering doubt that this Court is in an existential legitimacy crisis. Such a Court warrants no deference and begs for reform.”

“The Court has already defaced democracy by requiring Alabama voters to endure a racially gerrymandered congressional map this election cycle,” said ACS Senior Director for Policy and Program Lindsay Langholz. “Alabama is asking the Court to distort the Voting Rights Act, which, as Justice Jackson rightfully pointed out, ‘was designed to make people who had less opportunity and less rights equal to white citizens.’ Any endorsement by this Court of Alabama’s intentional distortion will be a crushing blow to the project of building a truly multiracial democracy.”

To learn more about the case, watch the video from Merrill v. Milligan: The Latest Threat to the Voting Rights Act, a special panel hosted by ACS and the Southern Poverty Law Center on September 29.


ACS believes that the Constitution is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” We interpret the Constitution based on its text and against the backdrop of history and lived experience. Through a diverse nationwide network of progressive lawyers, law students, judges, scholars, and many others, we work to uphold the Constitution in the 21st Century by ensuring that law is a force for protecting our democracy and the public interest and for improving people’s lives. For more information, visit us at www.acslaw.org or on Twitter @acslaw.