On Monday, a three-judge federal panel issued a preliminary injunction blocking Alabama's new congressional map from taking effect, instructing the GOP legislature to draw "two districts in which Black voters either comprise a majority or something quite close to it" by February 11. Under both the old and new maps, Black voters made up a majority in just one of seven seats (the 7th CD) despite making up 26 percent of the state's voting-age population.

The unanimous ruling is a surprise because the three-judge panel was made up of two Trump appointees and one Clinton appointee. And, state Republicans will appeal it directly to the Supreme Court. But for now, it's a major victory for civil rights groups and Democrats.

An irony: for all of Democrats' assertions that Shelby v. Holder (2013) "gutted" the Voting Rights Act, overturning hyper-packed seats in the Deep South would be a major triumph under Section 2 of the VRA, which is still operational. If the Supreme Court sides with the three-judge panel, it would be an outcome civil rights groups couldn't obtain in 2011,

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