Federal judge blocks Louisiana congressional maps that include 1 mostly Black district

Federal judge blocks Louisiana congressional maps that include 1 mostly Black district

NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge on Monday blocked the use of newly drawn congressional maps in Louisiana that only include one mostly Black district, and ordered the Legislature to come up with a remedial plan by June 20.

State officials filed a notice of appeal of the order by U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick in Baton Rouge.

Dick has one month left until the June 20 deadline for drawing new district lines to sign up for the Nov. 8 congressional election.

If the Legislature can't pass a remedial plan by that date, the Court will issue additional orders to enact a remedial plan that is compliant with the laws and constitution of the United States, the judge wrote.

The Republican-dominated Legislature drawn up a district map in a special session earlier this year. Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoed the maps, but his veto was overturned. Voting rights advocates brought a lawsuit.

Edwards said that lawmakers should have included a second majority-Black district among the six districts they approved, noting that the state s population is almost one-third Black.

The Legislature was about to end its regular session on Monday, and news of the decision spread as the Legislature was about to end its 2022 session. It wasn't clear what the next move of the legislative leadership would be once the regular session ended.

Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, a Republican who is the state's top election official, filed a notice of appeal with the 5th U.S. The Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. The case could end up before the Supreme Court, which earlier this year put on hold a lower court ruling that Alabama must draw new congressional districts before the 2022 elections to increase Black voting power.

He would have a statement later Monday, according to Ardoin s office. Edwards was expected to address the issue at a news conference set for the end of the session.

In blocking the use of the map pending further elections, Dick said those filing the lawsuit were likely to prevail with their argument that the new districts are in violation of the federal Voting Rights Act. She blocked Ardoin from running any elections using the new map.