A three-judge U.S. District Court in Alabama has set a deadline for briefs in the lawsuit challenging the boundaries of 28 State House districts and 8 State Senate districts. All the briefs are to be in by August 7, 2015. Then, the judges will decide whether further oral argument is needed. This is the case in which the U.S. Supreme Court decided earlier this year that Alabama’s legislative redistricting plan may violate the 14th amendment. The Supreme Court had sent the case back to the U.S. District Court. The plaintiffs, the Alabama Legislative Black Caucus and the Alabama Democratic Conference, argue that the redistricting plan diminishes African-American voting strength by packing too many African-American voters into a minority of districts, so that the number of districts influenced by such voters is too limited.
If the 3-judge district court strikes down the plan, there would likely be special legislative elections in 2016. Normally Alabama wouldn’t have any legislative elections in a presidential election year, because all seats have 4-year terms and are up in mid-term years.