Some federal appeals court judges appeared skeptical of a lawsuit that accuses Alabama lawmakers of racial discrimination for blocking the majority-black city of Birmingham from raising its minimum wage.
The judges on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals questioned Tuesday whether the lawsuit was properly filed against Alabama's attorney general. Failure to sue the correct party would get the case thrown out.
Judges at Tuesday's hearing in Atlanta asked how a court order barring the attorney general from enforcing the state minimum wage law would force employers to pay Birmingham's higher minimum wage. Eric Brown, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said his clients did not have to show that every employer would pay the higher wage.
At issue is a 2016 law requiring every city in Alabama to have the same minimum wage. State lawmakers passed it after Birmingham's city council voted to increase the city's minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.
A federal appeals court is being asked to toss a lawsuit that had accused Alabama lawmakers of racially discrimination due to a law that blocked the majority-black city of Birmingham from raising its minimum wage.
At issue in arguments scheduled Tuesday before the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is a 2016 statute requiring every city in Alabama to have the same minimum wage. Lawmakers passed the law after Birmingham's city council voted to increase the city's minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.
The state law effectively nullified the planned increase.
Fast food workers and civil rights groups accused the Legislature of racial discrimination, arguing that the state law targeted a mostly African American city and would disproportionately impact black workers.
State officials say the law is race neutral.
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