Joe Reed and the Alabama Democratic Conference have filed a lawsuit against Republican leaders over the state's new legislative district lines.
Joe Reed says the way the new districts are drawn prohibits blacks from gaining power in the legislature and dilutes the black vote.
A lawsuit filed against Governor Bentley and Secretary of State Beth Chapman claims that the new maps drawn earlier this year violate the constitution by discriminating against districts with a black majority.
"They're drawn with an intent, with a goal, with a purpose. And the purpose is, in this instance, to cap the number of majority black districts and also to some extent to eliminate white democrats," says ADC Chairman Joe L. Reed.
Reed referenced House District 73 which is represented by Democrat Joe Hubbard. This district will soon be moved to Shelby County.
"He was one of the few white democrats to survive the republican onslaught in 2010. He beat the Republicans because of what? Because of black voters...was such a number that we could keep him in the legislature," says Reed.
But not everyone agrees with Reed. In a statement sent to CBS 8 News, Speaker Mike Hubbard says in part; "not only was our plan cleared by President Obama's justice department, it also has more majority-minority districts than the reappointment plan that the democrats drafted a decade ago."
We spoke with some district 73 residents who say they feel Reed's allegations of racism are without merit.
"The rezoning was obviously reviewed, researched and approved before it was allowed to happen. I think a lot of people would like to use racism as an excuse for a lot of things and I think it's very inappropriate," says resident Penny Connerley.
"All of us gotta end up living together anyway and I don't discriminate. I love everybody," says resident Kenneth Johnson.
Joe Reed says his goal in filing the lawsuit is to get new maps drawn.
Speaker Mike Hubbard's full statement to CBS 8 News:
“We made it clear from the outset of the redistricting process that we were committed to seeking public input from across the state and utilizing the federal census data in a manner that resulted in fairly drawn legislative districts that fully fell within the parameters of the law. Not only was our plan cleared by President Obama’s Justice Department, it also has more majority-minority districts than the reapportionment plan that the Democrats drafted a decade ago. Not to mention, the Legislative Black Caucus filed the same exact lawsuit in Federal Court back in August. It doesn’t make sense that the Alabama Democratic Conference is rehashing the exact same lawsuit, unless their goal is to spend more taxpayer dollars.”