WHATLEY KALLAS ATTACKS RACIALLY GERRYMANDERED CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS IN ALABAMA AND SEEKS TO PRESERVE IMPORTANT CONNECTIONS IN ALABAMA COUNTIES

Today, Whatley Kallas and other civil rights lawyers filed a lawsuit attacking the racial gerrymandered congressional districts that politicians in Alabama have used to diminish the political influence of the African-American citizens of the State. The strangely drawn existing district lines divide multiple counties into different districts.

For example, in Clarke County (where Joe Whatley’s family is from), the county seat of Grove Hill is in one congressional district and the town of Whatley (established by Joe’s great great grandfather) is in another district even though it is only six miles away. Residents of Whatley, including Joe’s relatives, not only go to Grove Hill for governmental matters handled at the county courthouse, they also go to Grove Hill to attend church, to obtain medical services and to buy groceries. For more than a century school children in Whatley have attended the Clarke County High School in Grove Hill. Residents of Whatley are in a different Congressional district than their children and their siblings. For all purposes other than racially gerrymandered political districts, Whatley and Grove Hill are part of a local community, but politicians in Alabama have separated them with their bizarre district lines.

The State of Alabama has admitted that the current district lines are a racial gerrymander, meaning that they are designed to pack as many African-Americans into Alabama’s Seventh Congressional District as possible, and reducing the opportunity to elect African-Americans anywhere else in the state. The lawsuit filed by Whatley Kallas and others proposes districts that respect county lines and give African-Americans an opportunity to win seats in two congressional districts instead of one.

The time has come to end the unconstitutional political gamesmanship that is involved in drawing congressional district lines. The case is styled Bobby Singleton, et al. v. John H. Merrill, Case No. 2:21-cv-01291-SGC in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama Southern Division. The Complaint filed this afternoon may be accessed here.