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Louisiana Denied Immediate Addition of New Majority-Black House District as Judges Reject Proposal

Louisiana won't immediately get a new majority-Black House district after judges reject it (Credits: KADN)

A panel of three federal judges rejected a new congressional map for Louisiana, which would have created a second majority-Black House district.

The ruling, with a 2-1 vote, prohibits the use of the map drawn up by the Legislature in January, after a previous map from 2022 was blocked. The rejected map maintained a single majority-Black district and five mostly white districts, despite the state’s population being about one-third Black.

State Attorney General Liz Murrill expressed intentions to seek Supreme Court review of the ruling, citing the difficulties of redistricting litigation and the need for federal judges to draw maps.

Louisiana Supreme Court (Credits: Louisiana Illuminator)

The rejected map had been supported by Governor Jeff Landry and Murrill after a previous federal judge threw out a map with only one majority-Black district.

The National Democratic Redistricting Committee, led by former Attorney General Eric Holder, suggested that backers of the new map might seek an emergency order from the Supreme Court to maintain the new map during the appeals process.

The ruling found that the new map violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment because race was the primary factor in its creation, although one judge dissented, emphasizing the political motivations involved.

The decision leaves uncertainty about the district boundaries for the upcoming November elections. Another federal judge, Shelly Dick, had previously ruled that the state likely violated the federal Voting Rights Act with its map, but that case was dismissed after the new maps were passed.

The rejected map faced criticism for its design of a mostly Black district stretching across the state, linking disparate Black populations.

Hearing of lawsuit over Louisiana’s congressional map (Credits: KSLA)

The ruling complicates the electoral landscape for incumbents like Rep. Garret Graves, whose district was remarkably altered by the new map, and potential candidates like state Sen. Cleo Fields, who had declared an intention to run in the new district.

Rep. Troy Carter, the state’s only Democrat and only Black member of the current congressional delegation, criticized the ruling, while supporters of the new map argued that politics, not race, were the primary driving force behind its creation.

The legal battle over redistricting in Louisiana has been ongoing, with a previous map vetoed by then-Governor John Bel Edwards and later overridden by the Legislature. The rejection of the latest map adds another layer of complexity to this process, highlighting the challenges of balancing political and demographic considerations in redistricting.

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