Supreme Court Lifts Freeze on Louisiana Redistricting Case That Could Boost Black Voting Power by 2024 – Wake-up Call

Kevin McGill, Mark Sherman, Sarah Klein (Associated Press)

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court on Monday lifted a hold on a political remap lawsuit in Louisiana, allowing the Republican-dominated state to create a second black-majority congressional district. increased the possibility of having to redraw.

More than a year into the legal battle over the political lines drawn by Republicans, federal judges, Democratic Governor John Bell Edwards and opponents say the map is unfair and discriminates against black voters. claims.

The map, which was used in the November Louisiana legislative election, shows five of six constituencies with white majorities, all now controlled by Republicans. Even though blacks make up one-third of the state’s population. Other black-majority constituencies could give more seats to Democrats.

“I’m very excited,” said Ashley Shelton, president of the Coalition for Powers for Equity and Justice, a Louisiana-based group that campaigns against mapping. “This puts us back on track to have a second major-versus-minority constituency.”

In a written statement, the Louisiana legislature said it still needs work, but is “very confident” it will win two black-majority districts in the state by the 2024 legislative elections. said.

“As I have consistently said, this is about simple math, basic fairness and the rule of law,” Edwards said Monday. “I am confident that we will have a fair map in the near future.”

Every decade, legislators arm themselves with new information from the U.S. Census Bureau to redraw the political boundaries of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, State Senate, House of Representatives, Elementary and Secondary Education Commission, and Civil Service Commission. This process ultimately influences which parties, views, and people control the government agencies that make laws, set prices, and formulate policies for public schools.

The Louisiana lawsuit was on hold pending a ruling on a zoning lawsuit involving Alabama. Monday’s order follows a court’s rejection of Alabama’s congressional redistricting map in early June.

In both states, only one congressional district has a majority of black voters. A lower court had ruled that the map raised concerns that black voting power was being diluted and violated the landmark Federal Voting Rights Act.

Judges allowed the state’s challenge map to be used in last year’s election while considering the Alabama case.

In Louisiana, U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick repealed the map in June 2022 for violations of the Voting Rights Act, stating, “Evidence of the long-lasting history of vote-related discrimination in Louisiana greatly favors plaintiffs. ‘ said. Dick ordered lawmakers to redesign the map and convene a special session to include the second-majority black district. But lawmakers missed the deadline, and as a result, Dick said he would enact a map of his own choosing.

The Louisiana lawsuit was on appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans when the Superior Court stayed the issue. Judges said the appeal could proceed before next year’s parliamentary elections.

Rep. Troy Carter, Louisiana’s only Democrat and black congressman, applauded the Supreme Court’s lifting of the suspension.

“This decision demonstrates the importance of fair and equitable representation for the people of Louisiana and everywhere in the world in a healthy democracy,” Carter tweeted.

Louisiana’s zoning process has turned out to be a political tug-of-war, with Republican-controlled Congress and Democrats, including Edwards, battling over boundaries starting in February 2022. In addition to the legal battle, the controversy over the map also included Edwards’ veto. Boundaries and Congress override governor’s veto — It was the first time in almost 30 years that lawmakers refused to accept a governor’s veto on a bill they passed.

Republicans support the argument that the map is fair, and that trying to include the state’s widely dispersed black population into two separate congressional districts would result in a black majority in two districts. would be so narrow that it could actually reduce black voting power.


McGill reported from New Orleans and Klein from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.


Follow AP coverage of the U.S. Supreme Court at Supreme Court Lifts Freeze on Louisiana Redistricting Case That Could Boost Black Voting Power by 2024 – Wake-up Call

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