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Supreme Court Gives Green Light to Southern Legislatures

June 19, 1997

Aside from these five Justices on the court having blindly shut their eyes to equality and fairness today, their decision leads us to begin the next century with the certainty of bitter wars in southern legislatures for the right of all people to be represented.

Washington, DC - Georgia's Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-4th) responded to the United States Supreme Court's 5-4 decision affirming Georgia's redistricting plan. At the heart of the case was the lower court going beyond the Supreme Courtıs instructions of minimum disruption in the landmark civil rights case of Johnson v. Miller. When the lower court reconsidered the newly declared unconstitutional Eleventh District, the court struck down the Second District as well and redrew most of Georgia's congressional districts.

"Like it or not, majority-minority districts work, and because they work so well as a remedy for past exclusion they were attacked. For the first time Georgia voters in these districts had the opportunity to elect their candidates of choice. But now with the disastrous decision of Johnson v. Miller and todayıs decision, the opportunity for true representation has been snatched away from them. Until we adopt proportional voting systems these same voters will not have the opportunity to elect a representative of choice and in my opinion enjoy what others have always had. They will be left to choose between two alternatives, given to them, neither of whom is concerned about their views or well-being.

As a self-described child of the '60s Congresswoman McKinney said, though the Justices have put the death nail into the Voting Rights Act, I will introduce the Voters Choice Act as an alternative weapon to arm all people of conscious who seek a truly representative government where everyone has a seat at the table. This set back for the civil rights community is an opportunity for all of us to come together to consider new tools to go into the next century. To this end I want the neo-confederates everywhere and the proponents of California's Proposition 209 to know that the history train is still on her tracks to carry all of us to Dr. Kingıs America.

Congresswoman McKinney introduced the Voters' Choice Act in the last Congress. The Voters Choice act allows states to use multi-member districts when using a form of proportional voting. Not only will this act allow communities and smaller parties to maximize their voting strength it will also make the power grab of politicians choosing voters during reapportionment more difficult.

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