The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last Friday that the Louisiana Legislature must implement a new congressional map by January 15, 2024.
This ruling was in response to a lower court’s decision that the current maps unlawfully diminish the voting power of Black residents in the state. The consequences of this decision could significantly impact the outcome of future elections.
“The decision marks a pivotal development in Louisiana’s ongoing redistricting dispute, with potential implications for the balance of power in the state House after the 2024 elections. The appellate court nullified the 2022 ruling, deeming the preliminary injunction issued last year as no longer necessary for the urgency of establishing a map for the 2022 elections,” the report said.
“The district court’s 2022 preliminary injunction, issued with the urgency of establishing a map for the 2022 elections, is no longer necessary,” the court said.
Should the legislature fail to redraw the maps, a lower court trial may become necessary, thus creating a conflict between current Governor John Bel Edwards and Governor-elect Jeff Landry. The former may convene a special session of the legislature in order to accommodate this decision, while the latter may hold his own special session upon inauguration on January 8th, 2024.
In a move reflecting his concerns about the accuracy of representation, Edwards previously vetoed proposed congressional maps put forth by the Republican-controlled Legislature. He argued that the maps did not adequately reflect Louisiana’s demographic composition, where nearly 33% of residents are Black. Under the vetoed plan, the proposed districts would have resulted in only one of the state’s six districts having a majority-Black population.
Earlier attempts at redrawing were met with resistance as a federal district judge, responding to claims by a group of Black voters, issued a preliminary ruling blocking a map design alleged to violate the Voting Rights Act. The Legislature overrode Edwards’ veto, marking the first time lawmakers refused to accept a governor’s rejection of a passed bill in nearly three decades.
Republicans argued that the map was fair, asserting that the state’s Black population was too dispersed to warrant a second majority-Black district. In its ruling on Friday, the appeals court highlighted the need for the district court to assess the new plan’s alignment with the Voting Rights Act and whether another preliminary injunction is required.
As the 2024 elections approach, Democrats have not been presented with promising news. Former President Donald Trump has surpassed President Joe Biden in four critical swing states, as his election campaign progresses and he maintains an advantage over the remaining Republican primary candidates.
“Trump leads Biden in Arizona, too, with 49% to the president’s 44%. In Michigan, Trump holds a 5-point lead as well: 48% to Biden’s 43%,” CNN reported, citing the survey.
The former president is also leading Biden in Pennsylvania, a state he won in 2016 but lost in 2020 by a 4-point margin of 48 to 44 percent. Conversely, Trump trails Biden in Wisconsin by 47 to 45 percent.
The outlet noted further:
The latest battleground state polling underscores the considerable challenges facing Biden’s reelection bid, including low job approval ratings and questions about his age and ability to steer the country. The poll results are especially striking for Biden, given Trump’s mounting legal troubles. The former president faces 91 criminal charges across four indictments. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Biden campaign spokesman Kevin Munoz downplayed the polling in a statement Sunday, telling CNN: “Predictions more than a year out tend to look a little different a year later.”
“Coming off those historic 2022 midterms, President Biden’s campaign is hard at work reaching and mobilizing our diverse, winning coalition of voters one year out on the choice between our winning, popular agenda and MAGA Republicans’ unpopular extremism. We’ll win in 2024 by putting our heads down and doing the work, not by fretting about a poll,” Munoz added.