With another ruling, the conservative-leaning Supreme Court continues to dilute the power of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. NBC News reports the Lousiana Republican-drawn map will remain in place for the 2022 midterm elections. The high court has placed a temporary hold on a lower order requiring Louisiana to redraw its congressional map and include a second-majority-Black district.
After being granted an emergency request from Louisiana’s Republican attorney general and Secretary of State, two majority judges said there was not enough time for the state to redraw the map. Liberal-leaning judges Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan would have denied the request, the court’s brief order said. This ruling will make it harder for Democrats to keep control of the House heading into the 2024 Presidential election.
In February, a special session of the Louisiana legislator drew a voting map that excluded the second-Black district voting rights advocates were fighting for. Governor John Bel Edwards vetoed the map, and the Republican-dominated Congress overwrote the veto. Five black voters and voting rights groups filed a lawsuit at the U.S. District Court in Baton Rouge. U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick struck down the Republican-drawn maps citing they most likely violated the Voting Rights Act. After the judge ordered the second Black district to be included, the ruling was appealed.
The Black population in Louisiana is 33%, yet the Republican congressional map retained Republicans’ advantage in five of the state’s six congressional districts. Black voters in the state only have the 2nd District (stretching from Baton Rouge to New Orleans) as an advantage, with Democratic Rep. Troy Carter representing.
Louisiana’s restricting hold will remain until the Supreme Court hears arguments for the Merrill v. Milligan case in October. This Alabama case mirrors what’s wrong in the Louisiana one. As Reuters points out, the potential June 2023 ruling could make it harder for advocates to argue among race guidelines when determining whether an electoral district map violates the Voting Rights Act’s Section prohibiting voting practices that result in racial discrimination.