Federal judge blocks Lousiana congressional map, says plan ‘likely’ violates Voting Rights Act
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Federal judge blocks Lousiana congressional map, says plan ‘likely’ violates Voting Rights Act

The United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana Monday enjoined the use of a new congressional redistricting map that included one majority-black district. A coalition of black voters and organizations, including the NAACP, filed a lawsuit after Louisiana’s legislature overturned Governor John Bel Edwards’ veto and passed the maps. According to the plaintiffs, the map combines black voters in Baton Rouge and New Orleans into one district, “defies logic, dilutes Black voting power, and makes effective representation of both regions less likely.”

Chief Judge Shelly Dick held that the proposed map likely violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. She determined that plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits of their claims and that they would face irreparable harm should an election occur under the proposed maps. Accordingly, Dick issued an injunction which prevents Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin from “conducting any congressional elections under the map enacted by the Louisiana Legislature.”

The order also states that an “appropriate remedy in this context is a remedial congressional redistricting plan.” The plan should “include an additional majority-Black congressional district.” Edwards supported the ruling, calling it “basic fairness and basic math.” Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin filed a notice of appeal.

Dick implemented a June 20 deadline to redraw the congressional map. If the legislature fails to pass new maps by that date, the court “will issue additional orders to enact a remedial plan compliant with the laws and Constitution of the United States.”