Black voters, Louisiana, maps

Louisiana Voting District Maps Ruled Unlawful For Diluting Black Residents’ Voting Power

A federal court ruled that Louisiana’s House and Senate voting district maps violated Section Two of the Voting Rights Act and diluted the voting power of Black residents in the state.

On Feb. 10, a federal court ruled that Louisiana’s House and Senate voting district maps violated Section Two of the Voting Rights Act and diluted the voting power of Black residents in the state. According to The Pelican Post, the plaintiffs, a group of voters along with the Louisiana State Conference of the NAACP, and the Black Voters Matter Capacity Building Institute were represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Louisiana ACLU, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Law Firm of Cozen O’Connor, and attorneys Ron Wilson and John Adcock.

As BLACK ENTERPRISE previously reported, the Supreme Court allowed a case concerning the House maps to be subject to review by a lower court in June 2023. The Supreme Court passed the case to a lower court, which ultimately decided that the practice of packing and cracking Black communities needed to be condemned. According to The Post, the court also mandated measures aimed at fixing the discrimination that the previous maps engendered. 

Megan Keenan, a staff attorney with the ACLU Voting Rights Project, said in a press release, “This decision sets a powerful precedent for challenging discriminatory redistricting efforts across the nation, confirming that attempts to dilute Black communities’ votes and their power will not be tolerated.”

Keenan added, “This win would not be possible without the commitment displayed by our clients and generations of Black Louisianians who have spent years organizing and fighting to receive the Voting Rights Act’s promise of fair representation. We commend the court for bringing our clients one step closer to justice, and we will continue our work to protect the voting rights of all Americans.”

Dr. Dorothy Nairne, one of the plaintiffs, said in the press release that the ruling gives her hope. “Today, hope surges through Louisiana,” Dr. Nairne said. “Fair maps ignite a spark of empowerment in our communities, opening opportunities to elect and be represented by candidates of our choices. This is our victory, shared by every Louisianian who yearns for a brighter future. I am revitalized to build on this momentum and keep working toward transformation.”

Sarah Rohani, a redistricting fellow at the Legal Defense Fund, stated, “Today’s decision is a victory that affirms the voices and votes of Black voters in Louisiana. Voting rights and political participation are under attack across our country. This win is a testament to the strength and resilience of Black communities across the state that fought to be fairly recognized, represented, and heard. LDF will continue to work with its partners to protect the rights of Black voters across the country today, and for the foreseeable future.”

The case survived a frantic late challenge from a group of non-Black voters who argued in another lawsuit that the redrawn state maps violate the 14th and 15th Amendments. “The State has engaged in explicit, racial segregation of voters and intentional discrimination against voters based on race,” according to the lawsuit. “The State has drawn lines between neighbors and divided communities. In most cases, the lines separate African American and non-African American voters from their communities and assign them to Districts with dominating populations far away.” 

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