OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
The U.S. Supreme Court has sided with the Louisiana state legislature by allowing the state’s Republican-drawn congressional map to remain in place.
A federal judge had previously ruled the map violated the Voting Rights Act and ordered lawmakers to redraw the state’s six congressional districts to include two in which Black voters were in the majority.
In a brief one-page order, the Supreme Court said it would wait until next term to rule on the matter given there’s a similar case from Alabama scheduled to be argued next term, which begins in October.
The Court ruled 6-3 on the case, with the three liberal Justices – Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan – dissenting.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry asked the Supreme Court to freeze the lower court opinion, arguing that the state’s congressional boundaries cannot be drawn to create two majority-black districts without “segregating the races for purposes of voting” in violation of court precedent.
Landry said that allowing the maps would toss the state “into divisive electoral pandemonium” by throwing the election process into chaos, creating confusion statewide, and undermining the “confidence in the integrity of upcoming congressional elections.”
“It is impossible to draw a map without prioritizing race as the predominant factor in order to generate a second majority-minority district, which federal courts have cautioned Louisiana not to do in the past,” he told the justices.
The battle over newly-redrawn congressional maps has heated up months before November’s midterms and could play a huge role in the 2024 elections.
Earlier this month, the Florida Supreme Court delivered a gigantic win to Gov. Ron DeSantis and Republicans in the Sunshine State by “rejecting a request for a hearing over the state’s new congressional map that eliminates a majority Black district.”
Conservative commentator Greg Price noted on Twitter how big of a deal this is for Republicans going into crucial midterms in November.
“The Florida Supreme Court is leaving DeSantis’ congressional maps in place that create four new GOP-leaning districts. They will be the maps used this November,” Price wrote.
BREAKING: The Florida Supreme Court is leaving DeSantis' congressional maps in place that create four new GOP-leaning districts. They will be the maps used this November.
Another fat L for Marc Elias.
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) June 2, 2022
Last month, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled Republicans’ new redistricting law is legal and will make it more difficult for the only Kansas congressional delegate to win re-election.
The outlet continued:
The court’s opinion was two paragraphs long, saying only that the voters and voting rights group challenging the map “have not prevailed on their claims” that the map violated the state constitution and that a full opinion would come later.
The brief decision was written by Justice Caleb Stegall, who is seen as the most conservative of the court’s seven justices, five of whom were appointed by Democratic governors. During arguments from attorneys on Monday, he questioned whether anyone could clearly define improper partisan gerrymandering.
The report noted that lawsuits over newly redrawn congressional districts have flooded courtrooms all over the United States as Republicans seek to recapture the House majority this year as well as the evenly-divided Senate. Maps in at least 17 states have led to lawsuits, the Brennan Center for Justice noted.
Inside Elections reporter Jacob Rubaskin noted in a tweet the situation in Kansas was another blow for Dems: “The redistricting hits keep on coming for Democrats. The Kansas Supreme Court has upheld the congressional map drawn by the GOP-controlled legislature that makes Sharice Davids’ 3rd District more difficult for her. A lower court had struck down the map.”
The redistricting hits keep on coming for Democrats. The Kansas Supreme Court has upheld the congressional map drawn by the GOP-controlled legislature that makes Sharice Davids’ 3rd District more difficult for her. A lower court had struck down the map.https://t.co/9Mt0NjazHD
— Jacob Rubashkin (@JacobRubashkin) May 18, 2022
“In the past, congressional district lines have been reviewed by federal judges and not the state Supreme Court. The conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision in 2019 that complaints about partisan gerrymandering are political issues and not for the federal courts to resolve,” POLITICO noted.
“It’s elected legislators who are best positioned to determine how to balance out the competing interests,” Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, a Republican, told reporters after the state Supreme Court heard arguments.