Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Congressional Map In La. That Benefitted Democrats

Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Congressional Map In La. That Benefitted Democrats

A three-judge federal appeals panel has struck down a Louisiana congressional map that observers say would have benefited Democrats in elections.

The United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana ruled 2-1 that a map establishing a second black-majority congressional district in the state violated the 14th Amendment, as “race was the predominant factor” in its formation, according to the Associated Press. The elimination of the majority-black district occurs as Republicans maintain only a slim four-seat majority in the House and anticipate challenging elections later this year.

According to the AP, Judges David Joseph and Robert Summerhays, both appointed by former President Donald Trump, opposed the map, while Judge Carl Stewart, nominated by former President Bill Clinton, dissented.

According to the AP, Stewart contended that Joseph and Summerhays didn’t adequately consider the political motivations behind the map, arguing that this undermines their conclusion that race was the “predominant factor” in its creation. Advocates for the new map asserted that its rationale was political, as it could potentially disadvantage Republican Rep. Garret Graves, who supported a different Republican candidate in the state’s 2023 gubernatorial election. Republican Gov. Jeff Landry announced in January that he supported the map, the AP noted.

The majority rejected this argument, saying that “given the slim majority Republicans hold in the United States House of Representatives, even if such personal or intra-party animosity did or does exist, it is difficult to fathom that Louisiana Republicans would intentionally concede a seat to a Democratic candidate on those bases.”

Polling indicates that Republicans only have an advantage in 210 congressional races out of the 218 they need to form a majority, according to Cook Political Report.

The panel’s decision also highlighted that the new black-majority congressional district had an unusual shape, spanning from the northwest to the southeast of the state, in order to encompass sufficient black voters to form a majority, as reported by the AP.

The National Democratic Redistricting Committee, led by former Attorney General Eric Holder, stated that proponents of the map are likely to seek an emergency order from the Supreme Court to maintain it while the legal appeals process unfolds, the outlet added.


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