WASHINGTON, D.C. — Yesterday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined to reinstate Louisiana’s new congressional map while an appeal is being litigated. Earlier this month, a federal district court judge granted a preliminary injunction blocking Louisiana’s enacted map from being used in 2022 and ordered the Legislature to pass a remedial map containing a second majority-Black congressional district. The defendants, including the Louisiana secretary of state, immediately appealed the decision to the 5th Circuit, which granted an administrative stay that paused the district court’s decision. With yesterday’s order, however, the appellate court removed this administrative stay, denied the defendant’s motion for a stay pending appeal and expedited the appeal so arguments will be heard at the beginning of July. This means that Louisiana’s congressional map is currently not in effect as litigation continues.
While not endorsing the district court’s decision, the 5th Circuit found the defendants did not substantially prove their appeal would succeed and, as a result, a stay (or pause) is unwarranted. The court also rejected the defendants’ claim that the Purcell principle prohibits the district court from ordering changes to Louisiana’s congressional map close to an election, noting that, due to Louisiana’s unique election system, its primary elections for Congress won’t take place until November. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) has already proclaimed a special session of the Legislature to enact a new map in compliance with the district court’s order.