Louisiana Asks Supreme Court To Use Congressional Map Struck Down by Lower Court

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Louisiana asked the U.S. Supreme Court today to pause a lower federal court ruling that struck down the state’s new congressional map so the state can prepare for the 2024 election season.

Attorneys for Louisiana Secretary of State Nancy Landry and state Attorney General Elizabeth Murrill — both Republicans — filed an emergency application asking the Court to pause the federal district court’s April 30 order blocking the map, and also pause a May 7 order from the same court that established a timeline for the state to implement a new map.

In today’s application, the state says that if the secretary of state does not have a map by May 15, “the only map that could be feasibly implemented after May 15 (and avoid election chaos) is the H.B. 1 map, which remains in the State’s voter-registration system.” That map was struck down in 2022.

The state also asked for their stay application to be treated as a jurisdictional statement, and is asking the Court to take up the full case next term, ahead of the state’s 2026 elections.

On Wednesday, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and other attorneys also filed an emergency application seeking an expedited ruling from the Court. 

Earlier this week, the district court set a May 17 deadline for the parties to submit map proposals and a May 24 deadline for each party to respond. The court will hold a hearing on May 30 in which parties will be allowed to make arguments.

In its order, the court states that the Louisiana Legislature is in session through June 3, during which lawmakers are allowed to enact a new congressional map. But while that’s pending, the court will also proceed with plans to draw a remedial map “to ensure that a compliant map is in place in time for the 2024 congressional election.”

The order stems from a lawsuit filed in January by a group of 12 individuals who identified themselves as “non-African American voters.” A review of some of the plaintiffs’ social media accounts by Democracy Docket shows that at least a few of the individuals are white.

The complaint alleges that a congressional map recently approved by the Louisiana Legislature is an unconstitutional racial gerrymander, in violation of the 14th and 15th Amendments. That map featured two majority-Black districts and increased the Black makeup of the state’s 6th Congressional District, stretching from Caddo Parish to East Baton Rouge Parish.

In its April 30 ruling, a three-judge panel held that the map violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. But that congressional map was created to remedy a previous version of the map after the courts found that the original map — H.B. 1, which only had one majority-Black district — violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

Read the emergency petition in the congressional case here.

Learn more about the decision striking down the congressional map here.