The City of Auburn, Alabama is under fire for using alleged racist law firm, Balch & Bingham, as voter redistricting plan in the city are to be voted on.
Last week, Balch & Bingham consultants denounced a proposed NAACP voter redistricting map as “invalid” at a public meeting, blindsiding residents, observers, and supporters of the civil rights organization.
Yesterday, the Auburn Tigers were ranked first in the AP Top 25 Poll of men’s college basketball, for the first time in school history.
“While city officials cheer African American players on the basketball court, the same officials hypocritically hire alleged racists that publicly denounced the local NAACP’s efforts to protect African American voters, including those players. What a disgrace!” declared Lourdes Galvez, Vice-Chairman of the Consejo de Latinos Unidos (CDLU), a public charity that has repeatedly called on the city to fire the embattled law firm.
Balch has been under fire for weeks in Auburn after their Balch consultant and attorney Dorman Walker (pictured, right) was tied to the redistricting debacle for the state of Alabama in 2011.
In 2011, Balch’s Walker allegedly communicated with the late Thomas Hofeller a redistricting consultant and alleged racist who allegedly “divided and diluted” the African American vote for decades, according to various news reports.
The Alabama legislature was later forced to redraw the maps after federal courts ruled that legislators improperly used race in drawing up several districts.
Now in 2022, a decade later, Balch’s Walker is also involved in state’s redistricting plans.
But last night a federal panel of three judges unanimously rejected those plans.
The Alabama Legislature’s redistricting plan for 2022 will not take effect for congressional races after a panel of three federal court judges found the map dilutes the voting power of Black residents and blocked the proposal.
The long history of alleged racism at Balch & Bingham goes beyond redistricting.
Last year, a former prominent Balch partner started serving a five-year sentence for money laundering and bribery in a criminal scheme to suppress African American families in North Birmingham from having their toxic and contaminated property tested by the EPA. Balch has refused to apologize to the North Birmingham community that is 92.5 percent African American for their once-esteemed partner’s misconduct.
In August of 2020, voters in Vincent, Alabama united and cleaned house after local elected officials were tied to Balch and an alleged “whites-only” land grab to build a rock quarry on land that allegedly included historic slave graves.
Balch & Bingham rose to prominence during the era of racist Alabama Governor George Wallace who infamously stood at the school house door in 1963 to symbolically support segregation. In the 1960s, a top Balch partner at the firm was part of Wallace’s inner circle and his former campaign manager.
In 2020, Legal Schnauzer published an article linking Balch to a Wallace-era highway scandal that involved the Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, Robert Shelton (pictured on top).