Black legislators and residents of Dunwoody and Fulton and DeKalb counties are asking the federal courts to nullify the charters of five cities, including Sandy Springs and Dunwoody.

They also ask that the court prohibit the recreation of Milton County under a proposal pending in the state Legislature.

In a federal court lawsuit against the state of Georgia, the residents joined by members of the Georgia  Legislative Black Caucus say the cities dilute minority voting rights and violate the federal voting rights act and equal protection rights under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The lawsuit, filed March 28 in U.S. District Court, says the five cities – Sandy Springs, Milton, Johns Creek, Chattahoochee Hills and Dunwoody – were created by the state by carving political enclaves with white majorities from counties in which members of minority groups formed the majority of the population.

The creation of the cities “greatly reduced, diluted and abridged the voting rights, political access and the opportunity to affect political outcomes of the plaintiffs because the defendant’s actions … resulted in the denial, abridgment and dilution of the plaintiffs’ right to vote…,” the lawsuit said.

Also, the lawsuit said the cities “supplanted the fully functional and racially balanced county governments that, for over 150 years, had provided all local government for the citizens of Fulton County and DeKalb County.”

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.