District 71 among those ruled unconstitutional

Published 8:33 am Monday, January 30, 2017

A federal court panel has handed down a decision that 12 of Alabama’s legislative districts are unconstitutional, including House District 71 represented by A.J. McCampbell.
The three-judge panel issued its ruling on Friday, Jan. 20.
The districts were redrawn following the 2010 census and those districts were challenged by minority groups such as the Alabama Legislative Black Caucus, Alabama Democratic Conference, and others. While the redrawn districts did not reduce the number of majority black voter districts, the plaintiffs argued the districts put black voters into majority black districts that reduced their influence in other districts.
A three-judge panel found in favor of the state in 2013, but in 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court vacated that ruling, sending the case back to the district court. The judges on the panel were U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson, Circuit Judge Bill Pryor, and Chief District Judge Keith Watkins.
In all, 36 districts were in dispute. The 12 of those deemed unconstitutional will have to be redrawn prior to the 2018 election when all 140 seats in the Alabama Legislature will be decided.
House District 71 includes portions of Marengo County as well as Choctaw, Greene, Pickens, Sumpter and Tuscaloosa counties.
Rep. McCampbell (D-Livingston) could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, Jan. 25, print edition of the Demopolis Times.)