The Supreme Court refuses to speed the drawing of a new congressional map in Louisiana

Oct 19, 2023, 12:19 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected an emergency appeal from Black voters in Louisiana to speed the process of drawing new congressional districts in the state.

The justices declined to overrule a federal appeals court, which last month blocked a district judge’s plan to hold hearings for a new map with a second majority-Black congressional district for use in the 2024 elections.

The appeals court said U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick was moving too fast and must give the state more time to consider a new map.

Civil rights groups had hoped a new map for Louisiana would follow quickly after the Supreme Court rebuffed attempts by Alabama officials to avoid creating a second district where Black voters make up a substantial portion of the electorate.

Dick and judges in Alabama had ruled that congressional maps drawn by Republican-led legislatures after the 2020 census and used in last year’s elections likely violated the Voting Rights Act by diminishing Black voting power.

Louisiana officials have said they won’t take any action until their appeal of Dick’s original ruling is decided. That case is pending before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

No justice publicly dissented. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson wrote that she believes Dick can resume the work on new maps while the appeal is pending.

But the state attorney general’s office and Jared Evans, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, both said the judge set a Feb. 5 remedial hearing during a Tuesday status conference. They said the timing of the hearing could be affected by what the panel of three 5th Circuit judges decides.

In June, the high court said in an unsigned order that the case could proceed “in the ordinary course and in advance of the 2024 congressional elections in Louisiana.”

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The Supreme Court refuses to speed the drawing of a new congressional map in Louisiana