Federal Court rejects Louisiana congressional map

A federal judge on Monday blocked the use of newly drawn congressional maps in Louisiana that include only one mostly Black district, and she ordered the Legislature to come up with a remedial plan by June 20th.

State officials swiftly filed a notice of appeal of the order by U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick in Baton Rouge. Dick’s June 20 deadline for drawing new district lines is one month before the signup period for the Nov. 8 congressional election.

“If the Legislature is unable to pass a remedial plan by that date, the Court will issue additional orders to enact a remedial plan compliant with the laws and Constitution of the United States,” the judge wrote.

Opponents of the map noted that Louisiana’s Black population was growing faster than that of whites and that other areas closer to Baton Rouge could have been constructed with Black majorities to ensure racial equity in voting.

“The Court concludes that Plaintiffs have demonstrated that they will suffer an irreparable harm if voting takes place in the 2022 Louisiana congressional elections based on a redistricting plan that violates federal law,” Dick wrote in her order.

The GOP-drawn map was originally vetoed by the state’s governor, John Bel Edwards, but that was overridden, setting up the legal battle. Edwards said lawmakers should have included a second majority-Black district among the six districts they approved, noting that the state’s population is almost one-third Black.

Gerrymandered voting maps in Florida, Texas, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Ohio and Tennessee have been the subject of lawsuits already this year.

Louisiana Republicans have already indicated that they plan to appeal the ruling in the case, with the hope that they’ll find more favor with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is conservative largely made up of conservative judges.




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