Voting rights advocates welcome the Supreme Court’s ruling related to La’s redistricting

Published: Jun. 26, 2023 at 6:49 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Voting rights advocates and Democratic officials in Louisiana are applauding a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that they believe will lead to the state getting a second majority-African American congressional district.

Ashley Shelton leads the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice. The organization is a litigant fighting the congressional map approved by the GOP-controlled legislature in 2022. On Monday (June 26) the Supreme Court lifted its hold on the Louisiana case.

“Today is about the people and the power of people,” said Shelton.

She commented on the Supreme Court’s decision to lift its hold on the Louisiana case.

“Even as we know we have to go through a trial we do know that based on the court’s ruling in the Alabama case, indeed we will. we’re well on our way to realizing a second minority district,” said Shelton.

The high court recently struck down a redistricting map for Alabama map which opponents of Louisiana’s map think bodes well for their cause.

Sen. Royce Duplessis, a Democrat representing New Orleans in the legislature, fought to have a second Black-majority district before the legislature approved the map that is at the heart of the legal fight.

“The same legal framework that applied to Alabama, we expect to apply to Louisiana, so we’re very hopeful in the outcome here in Louisiana,” he said.

Duplessis added that he is optimistic the state will have an additional Black-majority congressional district in time for next year’s federal election.

“We’re very confident, we believe we laid out the case both legislatively and, in the courts,” said Duplessis. “Very confident by fall of 2024 there will be two districts that candidates of choice can be chosen by African Americans in this state.”

“The big surprise of the 6-3, super-majority conservative Supreme Court was upholding the Voting Rights Act in a very important Alabama case. Louisiana is up next with a very similar case. It looks like we’re going to have the same outcome as Alabama which should result in a second, majority-minority district,” said Mike Sherman, FOX 8 political analyst.

Sen. Sharon Hewitt, R-Slidell, oversaw the redistricting efforts in the Senate.

She issued the following statement to FOX 8 following the Supreme Court’s ruling.

“We respect the judicial process and the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to return our Congressional map case to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeal for further proceedings.

Louisiana’s Congressional maps were passed by a supermajority of the Legislature and comply with the law. We look forward to having our day in court and ultimately moving beyond litigation so we can return our focus to helping the people of Louisiana.”

Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoed the redistricting map passed by the legislature but was overridden.

He responded to the Supreme Court’s decision.

“Louisiana can and should have a congressional map that represents our voting population, which is one-third Black. As I have consistently stated, this is about simple math, basic fairness, and the rule of law. I am confident we will have a fair map in the near future.”

Rep. Troy Carter is the only Democrat in Louisiana’s congressional district. Carter also issued a statement.

“Today the Supreme Court was on the side of justice. In a healthy democracy fair and equitable representation matters, whether to the people of Louisiana or anywhere else in the world. I have consistently asked for a fair redistricting process in Louisiana that protects Black voters and creates a second majority-minority congressional district. Louisiana’s population rose 2.7% since the 2010 census and has grown more diverse in the past decade with Black residents making up 31% of the state. I have said it before, and I will say it again – math is math. We must begin to overcome our tarnished past and move toward fair maps that follow the math and give Black Louisianans the opportunity to elect a Black candidate. Let’s finally get this right.”

Shelton says fairness is critical, in terms of voting rights.

“Louisiana has a third of our population is African American and we have six congressional districts and we only have representation in one and so this was really about equity and justice,” she said.

If Louisiana does end up with a second black-Majority district after the legal fights are over the seat of a current GOP member of Congress could be impacted.

“What’s at stake here at the end of the day is whether there will be an additional, likely democratic seat in the U.S. House of Representatives which would take one away from Republicans in the state,” said Sherman.

FOX 8 also requested an interview from Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry or his solicitor general. However, a statement came from Angelique Freel.

“Our job is to defend what the Legislature passed, and we trust the 5th Circuit will review the merits in accordance with the law,” said Freel.

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