Federal judge steps in with new congressional district map after failed legislature


NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) — A federal judge will redraw the map of the state’s Congress after state lawmakers abruptly ended a special session two days earlier.

On Saturday afternoon, members of the Louisiana legislature decided there was no further progress in redrawing the congressional map of the state.

Dillard University political analyst Robert Collins said: “I think we were surprised by the abrupt ending because we thought they would at least go through the motions and pretend to follow the judge’s order, but no one is surprised by the result.”

On June 6, Federal Judge Shelly Dick ordered the special session, saying lawmakers must add a second black-majority district or she would redraw the map herself. Barely four days after the start of the six-day extraordinary session, the talks broke down.

“Republicans made it clear that they had no incentive to vote for a majority black second district,” Collins explained.

State Rep. Royce Duplessis, a Democrat, said, “I think it’s disrespectful and frankly unacceptable that anyone, especially a lawmaker, should think they can leave this session without following a federal court order. “

“We had done our best where we were and as Senator Ward said, we couldn’t get 20 votes to pass the bill. So at some point you just have to accept the fact that we drew what we believe to be accurate, correct, and in the best interests of the state,” Republican Senator Cameron Henry said.

The concern is that black residents make up nearly a third of the state’s population, so they should have a chance of taking two of the six seats in Congress.

The card approved earlier this year was vetoed by Governor Edwards because he said it violated the Voting Rights Act. From now on, the creation of the map will be in the hands of Judge Dick.

Collins explains, “Now, of course, what Republicans are hoping, hoping and betting on is that this judge’s decision will be overturned by either the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court. the United States. ”

If the 5th Circuit or the Supreme Court allows the judge’s decision, Collins explains, “then it’s game over. I mean at that point they will have to implement whatever card Judge Dick will implement.

Collins thinks Judge Dick will present a new map, which she drew, in the coming days.

Governor Edwards issued a statement following the Louisiana Legislature’s failure to draw a majority-majority African-American second congressional district, as ordered by the United States Intermediate District Court .

“It is disappointing that after every opportunity to do the right thing and create a majority-majority African-American Second Congressional District, as ordered by the U.S. Court for the Intermediate District, the Legislature has once again more failed to do so. The current map passed by lawmakers violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. That’s why I vetoed it. According to the latest U.S. Census, Louisiana’s voting population is one-third black, which means our congressional map of six districts should contain at least two majority African-American districts as long as they can be drawn. in a way that satisfies legal principles. governing redistricting. As the trial court rightly concluded, it is indeed possible. Unfortunately, the legislature has now twice rejected such a card. As you’ve heard me say before, it’s a simple matter of calculation, fundamental fairness and the rule of law. The irony of all ironies is that for the first time yesterday, Louisiana recognized June 19 as an official holiday. And today, on the holiday, which celebrates the day enslaved Americans learned of their freedom, it’s clear that our African American brothers and sisters are still fighting for fair representation. Louisiana, we can and must do better than that.

RELATED STORIES:

Legislature begins another special session on redistricting

Governor Edwards calls for a special session to redraw the maps of Congress

Judge orders Louisiana to redraw congressional map to include additional majority-minority district

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