Eric Holder: Georgia Republicans Are Trying to Make George Wallace, Lester Maddox Proud

December 6, 2023

All Georgia Republican-Backed Maps Defy Federal District Court’s Order

Washington, D.C. –  The Republican-led Georgia Legislature is on the verge of passing a new congressional map and has passed new state legislative maps that fail to meet the requirements ordered by the District Court for compliance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and continue to dilute the voting power and representation of minority voters in Georgia. Similar to the newly-passed state legislative maps, Georgia Republicans are pursuing a congressional map that defies the federal district court’s order by, among other things, continuing to deny the opportunity to elect candidates of choice to more than 140,000 Black Georgia voters in areas identified by the court for relief and eliminating a minority opportunity district in order to create a new Black majority district.

This fall, the federal district court ruled in the cases Pendergrass v. Raffensberger and Grant v. Raffensberger that Georgia’s congressional and state legislative maps violate the VRA and ordered the state to enact a new congressional map and new state legislative maps. The National Redistricting Foundation (NRF), the 501(c)(3) affiliate of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC), initiated these legal challenges in 2021.

“Following the landmark decision in Allen v. Milligan by a very conservative U.S. Supreme Court, extreme Republicans have flagrantly tried to defy and ignore that ruling and the lower court orders implementing it. That’s exactly what is unfolding in Georgia right now,” said Eric H. Holder, Jr., the 82nd Attorney General of the United States and Chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC). “All of the Republican-proposed maps in Georgia, from the state legislative to the congressional levels, are arrogantly drawn to avoid accountability for patently clear and deliberate violations of the Voting Rights Act and to make impossible fair and lawful representation to the people of the state. 

“Just as Alabama Republicans tried earlier this year, Georgia Republicans are trying to make George Wallace and Lester Maddox proud. It is sad to say that this isn’t a surprise, that the same decades old tactics—ignoring the courts in order to force discriminatory policies onto the people—are still being deployed today,” Holder continued. “It underscores the absolute necessity for all the protections enshrined in the Voting Rights Act: it is only through this law—and a vigilant judiciary—that the protection of the most fundamental democracy rights of  the people can be protected. Too many state legislatures, abetted by compliant governors, are focused on the acquisition and retention of illegitimate power.

“At this moment, I’m thinking about my dear friend John Lewis, and I know he would tell all of us that we must fight against this injustice with every tool we have—and we will. It is what right thinking Americans have always done. Our democracy is at stake. Now is the time for all of us to commit ourselves to its preservation and enhancement. We have met threats to our democracy before. We can, we must, do so again.” Holder concluded.