Supreme Court orders La. to use contested map for election

By Mark Sherman and Kevin McGill | Associated Press

WASHINGTON — 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.

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 is 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.

Liberal justices have dissented from prior Supreme Court orders that put decisions near elections on hold. Those orders invoked the need to give enough time to voters and election officials to ensure orderly balloting. “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. The court has never set a firm deadline for how close is too close.

Louisiana Attorney General Liz Murrill said she was pleased with the order. “The Secretary of State has consistently stated she needed a map by May 15,” Murrill said in an emailed statement. “The plaintiffs did not contest it at trial. We will continue to defend the law and are grateful the Supreme Court granted the stay which will ensure we have a stable election season.”

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,” Jared Evans, an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, wrote in a text using an abbreviation for the Supreme Court.

Edward Greim and Paul Hurd, attorneys for plaintiffs who challenged the new map said Wednesday’s order lets the state impose a “brutal racial gerrymander” on 2024 voters who will cast ballots in districts “segregated by race.” But they predicted eventual victory in the case.

Louisiana has had two congressional maps blocked by federal courts in the past two years in a swirl of lawsuits that …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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