BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – The battle over the redrawing of Louisiana’s new congressional map to include another majority Black district reached a pivotal moment Sunday (June 12), with the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals clearing state leaders to proceed with an order to redraw the map by June 20.

Shortly after the decision was made, Governor John Bel Edwards issued a statement regarding the ruling.

Edwards said, “This is a big step in the right direction for the people of Louisiana, and I’m thankful to the U.S Fifth Circuit for lifting the stay. This has always been a straightforward case of simple math, simple fairness and the rule of law.”

His statement continued, “According to the U.S. Census, African Americans make up nearly one-third of the voting population in Louisiana, and therefore, we should have a second majority-minority congressional district. As I stated in my letter Friday to the Senate President and Speaker of the House, there is time for the legislature to return to the Capitol and enact congressional maps that reflect the reality of our state. It is the right thing to do, and it is what we are compelled to do in accordance with Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.”

Earlier this week, the federal appeals court put the special session on hold, and Republican lawmakers rallied in favor of the decision. After the decision was announced Thursday, State Senate President Page Cortez and House Speaker Clay Schexnayder on Friday said that the special session to update House district boundaries should be canceled.

On Monday, Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin reacted to the ruling in a statement:

“We have received the decision by a three judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals lifting the stay of Judge Shelly Dick’s preliminary injunction and we are determining our next course of action.  While I strongly disagree with the ruling of the panel, as Secretary of State I am obligated to comply with federal and state law, including Judge Dick’s injunction as long as it remains in effect,” said Ardoin. “I also remain committed that my office will do everything in our power to administer fair and equitable elections for all Louisiana voters in 2022.”

But with Sunday’s ruling, the special session is set to proceed.

The six-day session is scheduled to begin Wednesday.