Judge Upholds Republican-Drawn Georgia Congressional Map

A voter picks up an “I Secured My Vote” sticker after casting a ballot at a polling location in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 24, 2022. (Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

By Wes Bruer, CNN

(CNN) — A federal judge on Thursday upheld the Republican-drawn Georgia congressional map that safeguards the state GOP’s dominance.

“The Court finds that the General Assembly fully complied with this Court’s order requiring the creation of Black-majority district in the regions of the State where vote dilution was found. Hence, the Court overrules Plaintiffs’ objections,” the ruling from US District Judge Steve Jones said.

The judge in October had ordered the Georgia General Assembly to draw new congressional and state legislative maps following the 2020 census, ruling that state legislators improperly diluted the political power of Black voters.

In response, the Republican-controlled legislature approved a newly drawn congressional map in a special session that complied with Jones’ order to establish an additional Black-majority district but preserved the GOP’s 9-5 edge in its US House delegation.

The map targets Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath’s Atlanta-area district by moving it farther into Republican territory. It leaves in place nine majority-White districts, which likely would preserve the current number of Republican seats, given voting patterns in the state.

Critics of the map argued that the “vote dilution area” was “virtually untouched,” according to objections by the plaintiffs in the order.

But the court rejected the “foundational assumption of Plaintiffs’ arguments,” saying “federal judges have no license to reallocate political power between the two major political parties, given the lack of constitutional authority and the absence of legal standards to direct such actions,” according to Thursday’s order.

Politicians in Washington have been closely monitoring redistricting moves in Georgia and several other states around the country because these maps could determine which party controls the US House of Representatives after next year’s elections. Republicans currently hold a slender majority in the chamber.

CNN’s Fredreka Schouten contributed to this report.

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