Court Strikes Down Louisiana Congressional Map With Second Majority-Black District

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A panel of federal judges struck down a congressional map on Tuesday that would have given Democrats an advantage in November.

The United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana ruled 2-1 that a map creating a second black-majority congressional district in the state violated the 14th amendment on the grounds that “race was the predominate factor” behind its creation, the Associated Press reported. The dismantling of the majority-black district comes as Republicans hold a mere four-seat majority in the House and face tough elections later this year.

Judges David Joseph and Robert Summerhays, both nominated by former President Donald Trump, voted against the map, whereas Judge Carl Stewart, who was nominated by former President Bill Clinton, dissented, according to the AP. (RELATED: Here’s How Congressional Redistricting Could Affect 2024 House Races)

Stewart argued that Joseph and Summerhays didn’t give sufficient weight to the political motivations behind the map, saying that cuts against their conclusion that race was the “predominate factor” behind the map, the AP reported. Proponents of the new map argued that the reasons behind the new map were political as it put Republican Rep. Garret Graves, who backed a different Republican in the state’s 2023 gubernatorial election, at a potential disadvantage.

Republican Gov. Jeff Landry announced support for the map in January, according to the outlet.

The judges rejected this argument, saying that “given the slim majority Republicans hold in the United States House of Representatives, even if such personal or intra-party animosity did or does exist, it is difficult to fathom that Louisiana Republicans would intentionally concede a seat to a Democratic candidate on those bases.”

Polling indicates that Republicans only have an advantage in 210 congressional races out of the 218 they need to form a majority, according to Cook Political Report.

The panel’s ruling also noted that the new black-majority congressional district had a strange shape, stretching all the way from the northwest of the state to its southeast to capture enough black voters to constitute a majority, according to the AP. The National Democratic Redistricting Committee, chaired by former Attorney General Eric Holder, said supporters of the map will likely ask the Supreme Court to issue an emergency order to keep it while the legal appeals process is exhausted.

The new district had to be drawn after a federal court found in 2022 that Louisiana’s initial map violated the Voting Rights Act by not giving enough representation to black people, Politico reported.

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