BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – The U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Alabama’s congressional maps violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act could lead to a second majority-Black district in Louisiana. State leaders are praising the decision, saying the change is necessary.
It was a 5-4 decision with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh voting with the court’s three liberals in the majority.
Gov. John Bel Edwards said the decision reaffirms that Louisiana should have a congressional map where two out of its six districts are majority Black.
In 2022, Louisiana lawmakers approved a congressional map that did not include a second majority Black congressional district. Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoed the map, and that veto was later overridden by lawmakers, prompting a federal lawsuit.
As I said when I vetoed it, Louisiana’s current congressional map violates the Voting Rights Act. Louisiana’s voting population is one-third Black. We know that in compliance with the principles of the Voting Rights Act, Louisiana can and should have a congressional map where two of our six districts are majority Black. Today’s decision reaffirms that.Gov. John Bel Edwards
Ashley K. Shelton, president and CEO of the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, said that although this is a big win, there is still a long way to go to ensure everyone can vote.
For years, redistricting and voting rights organizers have advocated for fair and equitable legislative maps. Today, the Supreme Court affirmed the importance of fair maps and ordered officials in Alabama to redraw legislative lines which undermine the power of Black voters. Although today’s decision was in our favor, we have a long way to go to ensure that all people can vote, have their vote counted, and elect candidates of choice. We must continue organizing, educating our communities, and preparing to vote en masse each time we have the opportunity to do so. This is a big win for voting rights, and with this legal precedent, we will continue to make fair representation possible in Louisiana.Power Coalition for Equity and Justice President and CEO Ashley K. Shelton
The Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus said it’s not just a win for Alabama but for the Voting Rights Act.
“Today’s historic decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the matter of Allen v. Michigan was not just a win for Alabama. It was a win for the Voting Rights Act (VRA), the underrepresented, and the numerous communities and advocates throughout the United States who have and continue to fight for fair representation when it comes to voting rights. If anything, today’s decision shows the need to protect voting rights and prevent discriminatory maps and gerrymandering that can affect the quality of life for those who are underrepresented. Louisiana, it is our time to do what is right.”Rep. Vincent Pierre, Chairman of the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus
What does this mean for Louisiana?
The decision protects voters of color.
It could impact a Louisiana-based Congressional map case called Robinson v. Ardoin. In the lawsuit, it was argued that redistricting maps passed by the Louisiana legislature decreased the voting power of Black Louisianans and violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act by failing to add a second majority-Black district.
The maps grouped Black voters from New Orleans and Baton Rouge into one area. A federal judge blocked the maps, but the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the contested maps for the upcoming election season.
It’s unknown when the Supreme Court will rule on the Louisiana case.