“We appear to be heading to the Supreme Court” | Louisiana Congressional map legal battle ramps up

BATON ROUGE — Louisiana’s Attorney General is gearing up for a Supreme Court battle over the state’s congressional map, which was invalidated by a panel of federal judges last month.

The 2-1 decision from a U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals panel argues that the map, signed into law after a five-day special legislative session convened at the governor’s direction, constitutes an unconstitutional racial gerrymander.

A critical aspect of the court’s ruling is the configuration of the new 6th Congressional District, which stretches from Caddo Parish in northwest Louisiana down to East Baton Rouge Parish, cutting diagonally across the state to include communities of Black voters.

“The Court finds that … District 6 does not satisfy the ‘geographically compact’ and ‘reasonably configured’,” the opinion reads. It essentially means the state cannot use it any future elections.

Garret Graves is currently the District 6 representative.

MORE: Federal court tosses Landry-backed Louisiana congressional map

The new redistricting plan was implemented in response to an order from U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick, an appointee of President Barack Obama, in the case Robinson v. Landry. She instructed the Legislature to redraw the lines by January 31, as she found the enacted map to be in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. A version approved by lawmakers in 2022 retained a single majority-Black district, prompting a lawsuit from a group of Black voters seeking to block its boundaries from taking effect.

Secretary of State Nancy Landry has said she needs any new map by May 15 in order to have it in effect for the November congressional elections.

“The Secretary of State has consistently said May 15 is a hard, real deadline,” Attorney General Liz Murrill said Monday. “Yet the Panel seems inclined toward creating more chaos in our Congressional elections in a presidential election year. While we will not have a definitive ruling for another day at least, we appear to be heading to the Supreme Court this week.

“My position has been clear: SB8 is the current will of the Legislature and should be implemented. If that isn’t an option, for whatever reason, then HB1 from the 2022 session, which is what’s currently loaded in the system, should remain in place while this matter goes up to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court needs to provide instructions to State Legislatures so States are not on a perpetual federal litigation roller coaster over good faith efforts at redistricting. It’s confusing to voters, it’s expensive for taxpayers, and it’s inconsistent with the federal Constitution.”

The following article contains information from the Louisiana Illuminator, an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization with a mission to cast light on how decisions in Baton Rouge are made and how they affect the lives of everyday Louisianians

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