In 2022, Brett Kavanaugh let Albama use racially gerrymandered maps in its midterm elections.
But more than a year later, the Supreme Court Justice switched sides.
Kavanaugh joined the liberal justices and Chief Justice John Roberts in ruling against the maps.
Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh flipped sides in a pivotal voting rights case, ruling on Thursday that Alabama district maps that diluted Black votes violated the Voting Rights Act.
It was a shocking reversal given that Kavanaugh ruled a year prior that the racially gerrymandered maps could still be used while the case wound its way through the courts.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court struck down the maps — redrawn by Alabama's GOP-led legislature to concentrate Black voters in a single congressional district — in a 5-4 decision.
In a ruling backed by the court's three liberal justices, Chief Justice John Roberts shot down Alabama's attempt to completely gut the Voting Rights Act of its ability to stop racial gerrymandering.
"We have applied [section 2 of the Voting Rights Act] to States' districting maps in an unbroken line of decisions stretching four decades," Roberts wrote. "Congress is undoubtedly aware of our construing [Section 2] to apply to districting challenges. It can change that if it likes."
Kavanaugh added his own perspective on Thursday, writing in a concurring opinion that "the constitutional argument presented by Alabama" to allow racial gerrymandering "is not persuasive in light of the Court's precedents." His opinion backed up the other liberal justices and Roberts, proving to be the crucial vote in the narrow decision.
The court's four other conservative justices dissented, saying they would have left the maps in place.
Kavanaugh sided with those justices in February 2022, allowing Alabama to use the maps for the 2022 election.
At the time, Kavanaugh said he'd allow the maps temporarily so it wouldn't disrupt the elections in November.
"When an election is close at hand, the rules of the road must be clear and settled," Kavanaugh wrote. "Late judicial tinkering with election laws can lead to disruption and to unanticipated and unfair consequences for candidates, political parties and voters, among others."
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