SCOTUS Won’t Intervene In Effort To Restart Drawing Of New Louisiana Congressional Map

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The Supreme Court declined Thursday to lift an order blocking a federal judge from holding a hearing on drawing a new Louisiana congressional map.

The justices declined to intervene after the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick from holding a scheduled early October hearing on the map, writing that the judge had not given the state adequate time to prepare. Dick issued a preliminary injunction blocking the state’s district map in June 2022 under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and required the state to draw a new one with two black-majority House districts.

The civil rights groups challenging the map called the Fifth Circuit’s decision to cancel the hearing “extraordinary and unprecedented,” asking the Supreme Court in an emergency application to allow the hearing to proceed.

No justices publicly dissented from Thursday’s order, but Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson did issue a concurring opinion.

“I read the Fifth Circuit’s mandamus ruling to require the District Court to delay its remedial hearing only until the Louisiana Legislature has had sufficient time to consider alternative maps that comply with the Voting Rights Act,” she wrote. (RELATED: Supreme Court Again Rejects Alabama’s Congressional Map)

Louisiana’s appeal of the preliminary injunction against its map is still pending at the Fifth Circuit. The state legislature approved the map in February 2022 and overrode Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’ veto in March 2022, according to the Louisiana Illuminator.

“The State has now represented, in its filings before this Court, that the legislature will not consider such maps while litigation over the enacted map is pending,” Jackson wrote. “Therefore, the District Court will presumably resume the remedial process while the Fifth Circuit considers the State’s appeal of the preliminary injunction.”

In June, the Supreme Court struck down Alabama’s congressional district map as a violation of the Voting Rights Act, ordering it be redrawn. The state legislature met during a July special session to redraw the map, which was again rejected by a federal court for failing to remedy the issue.

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