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Louisiana seeks trial on redistricting, says 'plenty of time' before 2024 vote

1 year 1 week 5 days ago Tuesday, July 11 2023 Jul 11, 2023 July 11, 2023 4:09 PM July 11, 2023 in News

BATON ROUGE - The plaintiffs in a federal case that could force congressional re-districting in Louisiana want the matter to play out next at the appellate court level, but Louisiana officials hope it will return to district court -- and insist that there's time for a trial there in advance of the 2024 elections.

A recent decision by the United States Supreme Court, which paved the way for redistricting in Alabama, put Louisiana's case back in motion in recent weeks. The process had been held up while Allen v. Milligan -- the Alabama case -- was heard by the nation's High Court.

In a 5-4 decision, justices found that Alabama's Republican-drawn congressional lines violated the Voting Rights Act by creating districts that diluted the power of minority voters.

Like Alabama, Louisiana has only one "majority Black" congressional district -- though nearly one-third of the state's population is Black.

In filings last week, the plaintiffs in the Louisiana lawsuit argued that the Alabama case confirms what has already played out on the district court level here.

"Because Milligan reaffirmed the standards the district court applied, Appellees respectfully submit that the Court need not remand for the district court to consider Milligan, and should instead allow the appeal to proceed in the ordinary course following the submission of the parties' supplemental briefs," attorneys wrote.

That would set the matter on an accelerated course toward possible redistricting.

But a firm representing the Louisiana legislature, its Attorney General and Secretary of State wants the case to be reheard at the lower level.

Attorneys with Holtzman Vogel filed papers noting that the district court could revisit the case and finish its business by the end of this year, "allowing plenty of time for resolution before the 2024 elections." The filing is co-signed by lawyers representing the Speaker of the House and Senate President, Attorney General Jeff Landry and Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin.

Congressional elections in Louisiana will take place on Nov. 5, 2024. Redistricting would change maps in a way that could affect hundreds of thousands of voters, and could put two current congressmen in the same district, where they would compete against each other.

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