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Judge Blocks Louisiana Congress Map With One Black District

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Louisiana’s Democratic governor said Monday he’ll call the Republican-dominated Legislature into special session soon to attract up recent congressional district boundaries, now that a federal judge has blocked use of maps which have just one majority-Black district.

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced his plan at a news conference on the Capitol in Baton Rouge. He spoke to reporters minutes after the 2022 regular legislative session ended, and a couple of hours after U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick, also in Baton Rouge, blocked using the brand new maps. Her ruling included an order that the Legislature draw up with a remedial plan by June 20.

Edwards, whose veto of the maps was overridden by lawmakers earlier this 12 months, said there must have been a second majority-Black district among the many six districts that were approved, noting that the state’s population is sort of one-third Black.

Edwards said redrawing the district lines is required by the court order, the Voting Rights Act and by “basic fairness and basic math.”

But, lawyers for Republican Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, the state’s top elected official, swiftly filed a notice of appeal of Dick’s order.

Dick’s June 20 deadline for drawing recent district lines is one month before the signup period for the Nov. 8 congressional election.

“If the Legislature is unable to pass a remedial plan by that date, the Court will issue additional orders to enact a remedial plan compliant with the laws and Structure of america,” the judge wrote.

The district map was drawn up in a special session earlier this 12 months during a legislative special session called to redraw government district lines to account for population shifts show within the 2020 census. Edwards vetoed the maps but his veto was overridden. That led to a lawsuit by voting rights advocates.

Ardoin filed a notice of appeal with the fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Latest Orleans. Ultimately, the case could wind up before the Supreme Court, which earlier this 12 months placed on hold a lower court ruling that Alabama must draw recent congressional districts before the 2022 elections to extend Black voting power.

Ardoin’s office declined comment on the litigation.

In blocking using the map pending further elections, Dick said those filing the lawsuit were more likely to prevail with their argument that the brand new districts violate the federal Voting Rights Act. She blocked Ardoin from conducting any elections using the brand new map.

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