BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Louisiana’s congressional maps are headed to court next week. This comes after the Supreme Court dealt a blow to Alabama’s efforts to keep from adding an additional majority-minority district.
The map passed by the Louisiana state legislature in 2022 only has one majority-minority district out of the six, despite one-third of the state’s population being Black after the last census count.
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund has been leading the legal charge, stating the map violated the Voting Rights Act by not giving the minority population a fair chance at electing a candidate of their choice.
In the Middle District Court meeting on Tuesday Judge Shelly Dick will look at options of maps with two minority districts. The NAACP LDF has submitted a map that would make the 5th District, currently held by Julia Letlow, a new majority-minority district.
“She will either accept the map that we submitted or she will appoint a special master to draw her own map,” said Jared Evans, policy counsel with NAACP LDF.
Alabama’s maps were the basis of the Supreme Court decision that impacted Louisiana’s maps. This week the state tried to appeal the ruling a second time, but the high court rejected it without any dissent. Evans believes this could be a sign of how things will go in Louisiana.
“Alabama’s only 27%, we’re 33% Black and when you can show that a map can be drawn with two majority Black districts, that is more compact, that splits fewer parishes, that splits fewer precincts, that keeps more communities of interest together; You have to have two majority Black districts. That’s what Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act requires,” Evans said.
There is a national implication in this case as some believe adding the second district could help Democrats retake control of the House of Representatives in the next congressional election.
“I understand that narrative. But for us, for the people who we are, who we represent, for our clients, this is strictly about having an opportunity for Black voters to like the candidate of their choice,” Evans said.
Both sides will get to make their case in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday and see the possibility of a new map being selected in the Middle District Court earlier in the week.