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Federal appeals court gives Louisiana Jan. 15, 2024 deadline to draw new congressional map

7 months 1 week 1 day ago Friday, November 10 2023 Nov 10, 2023 November 10, 2023 4:16 PM November 10, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - A federal appeals court ruled that Louisiana needs to restructure its congressional map by January 15, 2024, as the previous map likely violated the Voting Rights Act.

Previously, a lower court had made the ruling that the previous map minimized the state's Black voters, who make up a third of the state. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the lower court and said it "did not clearly err in its necessary fact-findings nor commit legal error" in finding the map approved by the state's legislature to be a likely violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

Still, a new order was issued because the 2022 ruling by the lower court was "issued with the urgency of establishing a map for the 2022 elections" and is "no longer necessary."

If the state legislature does not pass a new map by mid-January, the appeals court says the lower court should move ahead to trial so the state can finalize a map in time for the 2024 elections.

Governor Edwards issued the following statement about the ruling:

“As I have said all along, Louisiana can and should have a congressional map that represents our voting population, which is one-third Black. This is about simple math, basic fairness, and the rule of law. With the 5th Circuit's action today, I remain confident that we will have a fair map with two majority Black districts before the congressional elections next year.”

Congressman Troy Carter Sr. also released a statement after learning governor-elect Jeff Landry planned to call a special redistricting session:

“It’s past time for the Legislature to face simple math. One third of six is two. It has been clear for over a year and a half that Louisiana is operating under a Congressional map that clearly violates the Voting Rights Act. History has not been kind to Legislatures that wait for courts to force them to do what they are clearly required to do. I sincerely hope that the new Legislature draws two majority-minority districts as required by the Voting Rights Act. The law is clear. It’s never too late to do the right thing."

“I look forward to doing all within my power to assist in bringing about maps that will fairly represent the people of Louisiana.”

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