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Supreme Court Allows Louisiana To Use GOP-Drawn Congressional Map

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


The U.S. Supreme Court has sided with the state of Louisiana and will allow the state to use a GOP-drawn congressional map following the 2020 Census.

Previously, a federal judge struck down the map as a violation of the Voting Rights Act and ordered the state to redraw its six congressional districts to include two that were mostly populated by black residents.

But in a brief one-page order, the court’s 6-3 conservative majority said the nation’s highest court would wait until next term to rule on the matter given there’s a similar case from Alabama that is already scheduled for argument. The court’s next term begins in October and will feature its newest justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson, whom President Joe Biden nominated to replace liberal Justice Stephen Breyer.

While the court’s conservatives ruled in favor of Lousiana’s map, Breyer and the court’s other two liberals, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, dissented.

The Court ruled 6-3 on the case, with the three liberal Justices – Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elna Kagan – dissenting.

In arguing the case, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said that the high court should reverse the lower court’s ruling instructing state lawmakers to draw two new black-majority districts because they could not do so without “segregating the races for purposes of voting” in violation of court precedent.

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He also argued that allowing the map ordered by the lower court would toss the state “into divisive electoral pandemonium” by throwing the election process into chaos, creating confusion statewide, and undermining the “confidence in the integrity of upcoming congressional elections.”

“It is impossible to draw a map without prioritizing race as the predominant factor in order to generate a second majority-minority district, which federal courts have cautioned Louisiana not to do in the past,” he argued before the justices.

Earlier this month, the Florida Supreme Court handed a major victory to the state’s GOP majority regarding a congressional map drawn largely by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“Florida’s Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a request for a hearing over the state’s controversial new congressional map that eliminates a majority Black district, putting an end—for now—to one of the most high-profile redistricting challenges heading into the midterms,” Forbes reported.

“A slew of voting rights groups suing the state wanted the court to consider reinstating an injunction blocking the map,” the report added.

“Leon County Circuit Judge Layne Smith issued an injunction last month blocking the map, ruling the proposal to move the 5th Congressional District out of a majority Black region of north Florida violated the Fair Districts Amendments of the state constitution,” Forbes continued.

“A state appellate court quickly moved to overturn the injunction, a decision the state Supreme Court chose to uphold.”

“The court did not rule on the merits of the lawsuit, but its decision to not issue an injunction effectively kills any chance of overturning the map before the midterms,” the report continued.

Conservative commentator Greg Price took to Twitter to explain why the victory is a huge deal for Republicans ahead of the 2022 midterms.

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“The Florida Supreme Court is leaving DeSantis’ congressional maps in place that create four new GOP-leaning districts. They will be the maps used this November,” Price wrote.

“Another fat L for Mark Elias,” he added, referencing a top Democratic party attorney.

The previous week, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled Republicans’ new redistricting law is legal and will make it more difficult for the only Kansas congressional delegate to win re-election.

POLITICO reported:

The court’s opinion was two paragraphs long, saying only that the voters and voting rights group challenging the map “have not prevailed on their claims” that the map violated the state constitution and that a full opinion would come later.

The brief decision was written by Justice Caleb Stegall, who is seen as the most conservative of the court’s seven justices, five of whom were appointed by Democratic governors. During arguments from attorneys on Monday, he questioned whether anyone could clearly define improper partisan gerrymandering.

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