Legislative leaders call for governor to cancel special session amid court battle over congressional map
BATON ROUGE - A federal appeals court is temporarily blocking an injunction ordering that Louisiana redraw its new congressional map to include another majority Black district.
On Thursday the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals granted Louisiana legislative leadership's motion requesting a stay of Judge Shelly Dick's move to stop the state from holding any elections using the recently approved map.
Governor John Bel Edwards called for a special session in response to Judge Dick's injunction, which came Monday as the regular session was winding down.
House Speaker Clay Schexnayder and Senate President Page Cortez released the following statement Friday morning calling for the governor to cancel the special session given the court's ruling.
"The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal has issued a stay of the June 6 district court’s ruling regarding congressional redistricting rendering the Governor’s proclamation calling and convening the Legislature into a special session unnecessary and premature. Until the courts have made a final determination on the congressional maps as they were passed by a super majority of the Legislature, we are asking the Governor to rescind his special session call. Before the judicial redistricting process is complete, any special session would be premature and a waste of taxpayer money."
The court of appeals ruling says the civil rights groups which initially filed suit over the congressional map have until 4 p.m. Friday to respond to the appeal.
On Friday afternoon, Edwards said he would only call off the special session if the stay from the Fifth Circuit is still in place as of 4 p.m. June 14.
The special session is set to begin June 15 and must adjourn by 6 p.m. on June 20.
The governor's full statement is below:
“I remain hopeful that the Fifth Circuit will vacate the administrative stay and allow Judge Dick’s well-reasoned decision and injunction to remain in place. I believe the legislature can and should meet next week to enact maps that create a second majority minority district. Further, while I am mindful of the costs to the taxpayers as pointed out in your press release, it is clear that the state would have saved the unknown thousands of dollars being spent on out-of-state lawyers if the legislature had originally enacted maps that comply with the Voting Rights Act and the standard of fundamental fairness. It is not too late for the legislature to do the right thing. However, while I am Governor, I also remain an officer of the court, and I respect the Fifth Circuit’s authority over this matter. Should the Court retain a stay over Judge Dick’s decision, I agree that further action of the legislature should be delayed until the Fifth Circuit can review the merits of her decision.”
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