Supreme Court accepts new Louisiana map; liberal justices dissent

Supreme Court accepts new Louisiana map; liberal justices dissent

The Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that a new congressional map that includes a second Black majority House district in Louisiana can be used in November after a lower court rejected that map earlier this month.

The high court issued a stay on a federal judge panel’s decision two weeks ago that halted the use of a new Louisiana House map signed into law by Gov. Jeff Landry (R) in January that includes two majority Black House districts.

The dispute pertains to long-standing litigation around Louisiana’s congressional maps. The initial map was subject to a Voting Rights Act lawsuit in 2022 after the state Legislature passed a House map that included one Black majority House district; then-Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) vetoed the map because Black residents make up a third of the state, but his veto was later overruled.

The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which kept the map in place for the 2022 midterms, but it ultimately decided last year to send the case back to a federal appellate court, which ruled the state had to create a House map with two majority Black districts.

Louisiana ultimately passed new maps that created two majority Black districts at the expense of Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.) in the state’s 6th Congressional District.

Twelve non-Black voters in the state filed a lawsuit against the new House map in February, alleging that “the State has engaged in explicit, racial segregation of voters and intentional discrimination against voters based on race.”

A federal judge panel sided with those voters in a ruling earlier this month, arguing the new map violated the Equal Protection Clause. However, the Supreme Court on Wednesday was ultimately not persuaded by that argument, allowing the congressional map to be used in November.

Notably, however, the decision attracted the dissent of the court’s three liberal justices, including Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who wrote in her dissent that she “would have let the District Court’s remedial process run its course before considering whether our emergency intervention was warranted,” allowing the possibility of a new map to be considered.

The ruling is a win for Democrats because the party is likely to net a seat in Louisiana from the new congressional map. The party needs to flip only a handful of seats in the lower chamber in November to win back control of the House.

Democrats are also likely to net another seat in Alabama, while Republicans are set to net several seats in North Carolina after the state Legislature was allowed to pass new congressional maps.

The chair of the House Democrats’ campaign arm applauded the Supreme Court’s decision in a statement.

“Today the Supreme Court made clear that Louisiana voters will finally vote under a congressional map that ensures fair representation for Black communities that have been denied it for far too long,” said Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “This news is a much-needed victory for democracy, and we are confident that, come next Congress, we will add an additional member from Louisiana to our new Democratic majority.”

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.