SCOTUS Issues Ruling on Louisiana Election Map

Lower court called it an illegal racial gerrymander
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 15, 2024 6:04 PM CDT
SCOTUS Issues Ruling on Louisiana Election Map
"When an election is close at hand, the rules of the road must be clear and settled,” Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote two years ago in a similar case from Alabama.   (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib, File)

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered Louisiana to hold congressional elections in 2024 using a House map with a second mostly Black district, despite a lower-court ruling that called the map an illegal racial gerrymander. The order allows the use of a map that has majority Black populations in two of the state's six congressional districts, potentially boosting Democrats' chances of gaining control of the closely divided House of Representatives in the 2024 elections. More, from the AP:

  • The justices acted on emergency appeals filed by the state's top Republican elected officials and Black voters who said they needed the high court's intervention to avoid confusion as the elections approach. About a third of Louisiana voters are Black.

  • The Supreme Court's order does not deal with a lower-court ruling that found the map relied too heavily on race. Instead, it only prevents yet another new map from being drawn for this year's elections. The Supreme Court could decide at a later date to hear arguments over the decision striking down the Louisiana map.
  • The court's three liberal justices dissented from Wednesday's order. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson wrote that the judges who struck down the latest map should have had the chance to produce a new map before the high court intervened. "There is little risk of voter confusion from a new map being imposed this far out from the November election," Jackson wrote.
  • A lawyer for the Black voters praised the court's action. "We are very relieved that SCOTUS agreed with us that it's too close to the election to insert uncertainty. ... We will have a map with 2 majority black districts this fall," said Jared Evans, an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund.
  • Louisiana has had two congressional maps blocked by federal courts in the past two years in a swirl of lawsuits that included a previous intervention by the Supreme Court.
(More Lousiana stories.)

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