WASHINGTON, DC — The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NACP) attempts to redraw South Carolina’s congressional districts to flip a Republican seat to Democrats.

Rep. Nancy Mace (R) currently holds a competitive seat in South Carolina, District 1. The NAACP sued alleging that the current map is racial gerrymandering that violates the Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment. The court rejected the Democrats’ arguments by a six-to-three vote.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority:

The Constitution entrusts state legislatures with the primary responsibility for drawing congressional districts, and redistricting is an inescapably political enterprise. Legislators are almost always aware of the political ramifications of the maps they adopt, and claims that a map is unconstitutional because it was drawn to achieve a partisan end are not justiciable in federal court.

Alito explained that because lawmakers can be political in redistricting — indeed, it is impossible for a politician to ignore politics — “a party challenging a map’s constitutionality must disentangle race and politics if it wishes to prove that the legislature was motivated by race as opposed to partisanship.”

However, the Supreme Court has “at least in theory, kept the door open for those rare instances in which a district’s shape is so bizarre on its face that it discloses a racial design absent any alternative explanation,” Alito noted.

Justice Samuel Alito (Erin Schaff/The New York Times via AP, Pool)

“When partisanship and race correlate, it naturally follows that a map that has been gerrymandered to achieve a partisan end can look very similar to a racially gerrymandered map,” the court reasoned. “For that reason, our prior decisions have made clear that a jurisdiction may engage in constitutional political gerrymandering, even if it so happens that the most loyal Democrats happen to be black Democrats and even if the State were conscious of that fact.”

“If either politics or race could explain a district’s contours, the plaintiff has not cleared its bar” of proving that districts were drawn with an unconstitutional focus on race, Alito said.

“Without an alternative map, it is difficult for plaintiffs to defeat our starting presumption that the legislature acted in good faith,” the opinion continued. “This presumption of legislative good faith directs district courts to draw the inference that cuts in the legislature’s favor when confronted with evidence that could plausibly support multiple conclusions.”

The majority also made a point regarding redistricting that speaks to the ongoing lawfare against former President Donald Trump, cautioning that “we must be wary of plaintiffs who seek to transform federal courts into weapons of political warfare that will deliver victories that eluded them in the political arena.”

Focusing on the facts of this case and whether Mace’s district is an unconstitutional racial gerrymander, the majority reasoned:

But where race and partisan preferences are very closely tied, as they are here, the mere fact that District 1’s BVAP [Black Voting Age Population] stayed more or less constant proves very little. If 100% of black voters voted for Democratic candidates, it is obvious that any map with the partisan breakdown that the legislature sought in District 1—something in the range of 54% Republican to 46% Democratic—would inevitably involve the removal of a disproportionate number of black voters. And since roughly 90% of black voters cast their ballots for Democratic candidates, the same phenomenon is very likely.

… Thus, there is strong evidence that the district’s BVAP of 17% was simply a side effect of the legislature’s partisan goal. And certainly nothing rules out that possibility. In light of the presumption of legislative good faith, that possibility is dispositive.

All that leaves the NAACP with is its expert reports, “but these reports are flawed because they ignored certain traditional districting criteria such as geographical constraints and the legislature’s partisan interests,” Alito found. “Because these reports do not replicate the myriad considerations that a legislature must balance as part of its redistricting efforts, they cannot sustain a finding that race played a predominant role in the drawing of District 1’s lines.”

The justices also faulted the trial court for failing to note that the Democrats had not provided “a substitute map that shows how the State could have achieved its legitimate political objectives in District 1 while producing significantly greater racial balance.”

“Nor is an alternative map difficult to produce,” the majority reasoned. “Any expert armed with a computer can easily churn out redistricting maps that control for any number of specified criteria, including prior voting patterns and political party registration.”

For all these reasons, the Supreme Court concluded that the lower court engaged in “clear error” in its factfinding, reversing the trial court.

Justice Clarence Thomas joined most of Alito’s opinion and also wrote a concurrence, saying the court should reconsider some of its prior decisions on voting rights to revisit some of the broader legal principles the court applies in cases like this.

Justice Elena Kagan dissented, joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ketanji Brown Jackson.

The case is Alexander v. South Carolina Conference of NAACP, No. 22-807 in the Supreme Court of the United States.

Breitbart News senior legal contributor Ken Klukowski is a lawyer who served in the White House and Justice Department. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) @kenklukowski.