Supreme Court, for Now, Allows Louisiana Voting Map to Move Forward - The World News

Supreme Court, for Now, Allows Louisiana Voting Map to Move Forward

The Supreme Court on Wednesday temporarily revived a congressional map in Louisiana that includes a second majority-Black district, halting a lower court decision to pause the map over concerns that it was racially gerrymandered.

The move could increase Democrats’ likelihood of taking control of a second congressional seat in Louisiana.

The newly drawn map had been approved in January by Louisiana’s Republican-controlled legislature after it had been directed to redraw it.

The decision, which was unsigned, said that it would remain in effect pending an appeal or a decision by the Supreme Court. The court’s three liberal justices wrote that they would not have lifted the block on the proposed map, with Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan noting they would have denied the stay application.

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson wrote a public dissent, acknowledging the complex history of the dispute, which has taken more than two years of litigation, challenges by separate groups of voters, first under the Voting Rights Act, then under the Constitution, and scrutiny by governors, legislators, voters and judges.

The case was particularly thorny because two groups had raised separate challenges to the way that Louisiana carved up its voting districts, basing their objections on different underlying principles.

A group of Black voters, citing the Voting Rights Act, said the new map should move forward. In a separate challenge, a different group of plaintiffs, pointing to the equal protection clause, said it amounted to a racial gerrymander and should be blocked.

In Louisiana’s petition, Elizabeth B. Murrill, the state’s attorney general, urged the justices to act quickly.

The Louisiana secretary of state had set a deadline of May 15 to prepare for the 2024 elections, she wrote, leaving it with “no congressional map” to use for the election because of the lower court ruling.

She added: “Louisiana’s impossible situation in this redistricting cycle would be comical if it were not so serious.”

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