Louisiana granted extra time to draw new congressional map that complies with Voting Rights Act-ZoomTech News


BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana lawmakers now have till the tip of January to attract and cross new congressional boundaries to switch a present map {that a} federal decide mentioned violates the Voting Rights Act by diluting the ability of the state’s Black voters.

Nevertheless, a number of questions nonetheless linger — together with if and when the GOP-dominated Legislature will return to the Capitol and, most of all, if lawmakers will be capable to agree on a map.

Baton Rouge-based U.S. District Choose Shelly Dick issued a two-week extension Thursday afternoon, giving lawmakers additional time to assemble a congressional map, the American Civil Liberties Union confirmed to The Related Press. The brand new redistricting deadline is Jan. 30.

The ACLU is representing the plaintiffs.

Outgoing Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards doesn’t plan on calling lawmakers again to Baton Rouge to attract a brand new map, spokesperson Eric Holl mentioned Sunday. Nevertheless, the extension will give incoming Gov.-elect Jeff Landry, a Republican, the possibility to name a particular redistricting session after being inaugurated Jan. 8 — which he beforehand vowed to do.

As well as, the outgoing Senate President and Home Speaker have the ability to convene a particular session with the help of a majority of legislators. Nevertheless, the chamber leaders have proven little curiosity, saying it could be higher to cross the job to incoming lawmakers, The Advocate reported.

Louisiana is among the many listing of states nonetheless wrangling over congressional districts after the U.S. Supreme Court docket in June dominated that Alabama had violated the Voting Rights Act.

Louisiana’s present GOP-drawn map, which was used within the November congressional election, has white majorities in 5 of six districts — regardless of Black individuals accounting for one-third of the state’s inhabitants.

Democrats argue that the map discriminates towards Black voters and that there must be two majority-minority districts. Republicans say the map is truthful and argue that Black populations within the state are too dispersed to be united right into a second majority Black district.

Presently, 5 of the six districts are held by Republicans. One other principally Black district might ship a second congressional seat to Democrats.

The political tug-of-war and authorized battle over the congressional map has been occurring for greater than a 12 months and a half — which has included Edwards vetoing the political boundaries and the Legislature overriding his veto — their first override of a governor’s veto in almost three many years.

In June 2022, Dick struck down Louisiana’s map for violating the Voting Rights Act. Dick mentioned in her ruling that “proof of Louisiana’s lengthy and ongoing historical past of voting-related discrimination weighs closely in favor of Plaintiffs.” Dick, a Barack Obama appointee, ordered that the map be redrawn to incorporate a second majority-Black district, earlier than it was despatched to a federal New Orleans appeals courtroom.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Court docket of Appeals for the Fifth District set the deadline to finish the brand new map as Jan. 15. Within the courts order, they allowed Dick the discretion to grant “restricted extra time” if requested.

Though Landry vowed earlier this month to name a particular session, below the unique deadline the timing wouldn’t have labored since Landry received’t be inaugurated till Jan. 8 and the session couldn’t have began till seven days later.

If the Legislature doesn’t cross a brand new map by the prolonged deadline, then the decrease district courtroom will maintain a trial and “determine on a plan for the 2024 elections,” in accordance with the upper courtroom’s order. The trial would start Feb. 5.




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