After civil rights organizations claimed that voting maps in Louisiana discriminated against Black voters, the U.S. Supreme Court qualified a Louisiana voting rights complaint to move forward.
The highest court’s decision on June 26 made it possible for Louisiana officials to redraft the state’s congressional district lines to improve the representation of Black people. It also could put Republicans who created the six districts last year at a disadvantage, Vox reported.
Gerrymandering is manipulating the boundaries of electoral districts to give an unfair advantage to a particular political party or group. It involves strategically redrawing the district lines to benefit one party or group while disadvantaging others.
Legislators frequently redraw districts in Republican-controlled states like Louisiana, Alabama, Texas, Georgia, and Florida to intentionally divide Black populations, which reduces the weight of their votes compared to what it would be if they were sufficiently unified.
In Alabama, the majority of the Justices decided that the state’s districts were discriminatory toward Black voters because, despite the fact that Black people make up 27 percent of the population, only 14 percent of the Black vote is represented in the state’s seven districts.
With Alabama’s voting districts put in question, it opens the possibility for Louisiana to redraw its districts, and arguably, there is more discrimination happening in Louisiana.
Although there are around 33 percent of Black people in Louisiana, just 17 percent of Black voters are represented in the six districts.
The 2nd Congressional District, which includes New Orleans and the surrounding areas, is home to the majority of Black residents in Louisiana. This is a result of the district’s previous representation by Black legislators.
Republican lawmakers drew the district during the 2022 elections.
The 2nd Congressional District has played an essential role in the political representation of the Black community in Louisiana, and a second major Black district, which would more likely serve the Democratic voting base, is in the proposal phase if redistricted.
The judgment follows a previous one in which the Justices agreed with Black voters in Alabama who also alleged discrimination in violation of the Voting Rights Act during the era of the Civil Rights Movement.
The Louisiana Legislature, the Republicans who created the maps in question, can create a new district map, or Shelly Dick of the state’s Middle District and a nominee for the federal bench of Former President Barack Obama, can decide.
The federal judge originally disapproved of the Republican-drawn districts and asked lawmakers to redo them, which they declined and allowed the Supreme Court to make the ultimate decision.