Appeals court rules Louisiana legislature must resubmit new congressional districting map by Jan. 15

November 11, 2023

The congressional redistricting battles in several states will have major implications for the 2024 election cycle.

Some of the battles unfolding at the state's highest levels of their court systems revolve around minority voters, including the current situation unfolding in Louisiana.

According to The Hill, a three-judge panel in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in Louisiana ruled that a new congressional map must be redrawn and submitted before Jan. 15.

The court indicated that the current map puts Black voters at a disadvantage, not unlike situations happening in other southern states.

The appeals court upheld a lower court's ruling on the matter earlier this year.

The situation is especially critical at the state level, as it will likely determine which party controls the state House next election cycle.

The three-judge panel wrote that "the district court’s 2022 preliminary injunction, issued with the urgency of establishing a map for the 2022 elections, is no longer necessary."

The Hill noted:

The opinion clarified that uncertainty remains regarding how external factors could affect developments in the case ahead of Jan. 15. Current Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards may call a special session to redraw the boundaries, but Republican Gov.-elect Jeff Landry could also call a special redistricting session in the handful of days following his Jan. 8 inauguration.

Should the state legislature fail to comply with the latest ruling, a lower court could begin a trial to decide the matter, the outlet added.

Critics of the current map contend that it's a violation of the Voting Rights Act.

One of the original redistricting maps was flatly rejected by a judge, who sided with a coalition of Black voters who claimed it put Black voters at a disadvantage next year.

Republicans have insisted the map is fair, given that the state's Black population is dispersed across the state widely enough that a second Black voting district isn't necessary or reasonable.

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