New Louisiana Supreme Court Districts Head to Governor After Decades

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Voters in Louisiana could soon have a new Supreme Court map for the first time in over two decades if Gov. Jeff Landry (R) signs a bill passed by the Legislature that would create two majority-Black districts. 

Despite having the second-largest Black population by percentage in the United States and Black residents composing about 32% of the state’s entire population, Louisiana has never had more than one Black justice on its highest court at a time. Throughout the state’s history only three Black justices have been elected to the Louisiana Supreme Court. The map itself has only been redrawn once over the last 100 years. 

The map on its way to Landry would allow the state’s Black voters to potentially elect their candidate of choice in two districts: District 2, which contains parts of Baton Rouge, and District 7 based in New Orleans. 

Despite having a huge impact on how voters are represented, state Supreme Courts do not have to be reapportioned every ten years like congressional and legislative maps. Every state has a different method of selecting Supreme Court justices; Louisiana is one of eight states that selects their justices through partisan elections where candidates run in designated districts.  

Now, in part due to a long-fought legal battle to bring Black Louisianans better representation, the state may finally have a fairer Supreme Court map. This comes after five of the court’s seven members encouraged the Legislature to adopt a map with an additional majority-minority district in a letter back in December. 

Currently, the state’s Supreme Court map only has one majority-Black district — in Orleans Parish — which the state is required to have as the result of a consent decree in a decadeslong lawsuit. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to rehear its own previous decision in the case in May and determine if the state will continue under court oversight and the parameters of the consent decree. A separate case challenging the map brought by the NAACP is ongoing as well. 

The state’s new Supreme Court map gives Black voters in Louisiana more say in who will be elected to the high court, which touches almost every issue in the state from voting rights to abortion to criminal justice reform. This new map could also impact the two lawsuits currently pending in federal court. 

Read the bill here. 

Learn more about the Chisom case here.

Learn more about the NAACP case here.