Once-powerful Democrats are challenging legislative districts drawn by Alabama Republicans that have helped shrink Democratic representation to just eight seats in the state Senate - all of them from districts in which African-Americans are a majority.
Black Democrats say the GOP did it by misusing a landmark voting-rights law, intended to ensure the right to vote for southern blacks, to instead limit their voting strength. They argue that Republicans relied too heavily on race to draw new electoral maps following the 2010 census.
The case goes before the Supreme Court on Wednesday. Last year, a conservative majority on the court effectively blocked a key component of the Voting Rights Act, and this case will be watched closely for signs that the rest of the law could be in peril.