An appeals court has blocked the redrawing of Louisiana's congressional map


People queue up to vote in New Orleans at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. charter elementary school in 2020.

Gerald Herbert/AP

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Gerald Herbert/AP

People line up for voting at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. charter elementary school in New Orleans, 2020.

Gerald Herbert/AP

A three-judge panel from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 to cancel a lower court’s hearing for selecting a new redistricting plan that U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick had scheduled to begin on Oct. 3. Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 on Tuesday to cancel a lower-court’s hearing to select a new redistricting map that U.S. district judge Shelly Dick scheduled to begin on October 3.

“The district court failed to follow the law of this court or the Supreme Court,” U.S. Circuit Judge Edith Jones, a Reagan appointee, wrote the majority opinion. She was joined by Circuit Judge James Ho (a Trump appointee). Circuit Judge Stephen Higginson (an Obama appointee) dissented. Circuit Judge Edith Jones, a Reagan appointee, wrote in the majority opinion, which was joined by Circuit Judge James Ho, a Trump appointee.

Circuit Judge Stephen Higginson, an Obama appointee, dissented.

Their ruling, which could be reviewed by the full 5th Circuit court or the U.S. Supreme Court, delays the process for creating a new congressional map to replace one that Dick found likely violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act by diluting the voting power of Black Louisianans.

The map approved by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature includes only one district out of six where Black Louisianans — who make up close to a third of the state’s population — have a realistic opportunity of electing their preferred candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives. Dick, however, has ruled that to get in line with the Voting Rights Act, there should be two opportunity districts for Black voters.

Given how racially polarized voting is in Louisiana, those districts would likely elect Democratic candidates, who could help Democrats take back control of the U.S. House after next year’s elections.

The panel’s ruling is the latest twist in a redistricting lawsuit that may end up before the Supreme Court again. Last year, GOP officials in Louisiana appealed to the nation’s highest court. The high court sent the Louisiana case to lower courts in June for review “in advance” of the 2024 Louisiana congressional elections. “

Next week, a separate panel of 5th Circuit judges is set to hear oral arguments about whether Dick’s preliminary injunction ruling against the state legislature-approved map was made incorrectly.

Edited by

Benjamin Swasey