Louisiana given until June 3 to redraw congressional map amid dispute over racial gerrymandering

The federal court that struck down Louisiana’s congressional map as an unconstitutional racial gerrymander is giving state lawmakers until the beginning of June to redraw the map themselves.

In the meantime, the court is setting up a schedule for proposals for a new congressional plan to be considered by the court, in case the court itself must draw the new map.

“Accordingly, if the Louisiana Legislature fails to enact a new map by June 3, 2024, the Court intends to order the use of an interim remedial Congressional districting map on June 4, 2024,” the court said in the Tuesday order, while noting it may appoint a redistricting expert to assist it in the process.

The scheduling order issued by the court, a three-judge panel in Louisiana, is the latest development in the messy dispute over the congressional map, which could influence the control of the US House next year.

A map that the Louisiana legislature drew after the 2020 census – which included only one majority-Black district in a state where roughly one-third of the population is African American – was ruled a likely violation of the Voting Rights Act by a different federal court last year.

The legislature adopted a new map this year to create a second majority-Black district out of six total. That map was challenged by voters, some of them prominent White Republicans, and was struck down by the three-judge panel last week.

Louisiana Secretary of State Nancy Landry has said the state needs a map by May 15 for it be able to administer this year’s elections. But the court on Tuesday noted previous statements from the state’s lawyer in the other case that Louisiana could be prepared for the November election as long as it had a map by the end of May.

It is expected that at least some of the litigants involved in this current case will ask the Supreme Court to intervene this week and let the plan the lawmakers adopted earlier this year be used for this year’s elections.

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