Law and Politics

Groups Sue After Louisana Legislature 

Overturns Governors Veto 

of Congressional Map

    LOUSIANA - (ACLU) - 3/30/2022 - The Louisiana Legislature has voted to overturn Gov. John Bel Edwards’ veto of the congressional map passed earlier this year, which failed to add a second majority-Black district.

    In response, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), ACLU of Louisiana, and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP filed a  lawsuit on behalf of the Louisiana State Conference of the NAACP, Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, and individuals Press Robinson, Dorothy Nairne, E. René Soulé, Alice Washington, and Clee Ernest Lowe challenging the map as a violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

    “The congressional map passed by the Louisiana Legislature in February rejected basic principles of fairness and equity,” said NAACP Louisiana State Conference President Michael McClanahan. “The Legislature knew that they could pass a map that complied with the Voting Rights Act and honored the will of community members who stood up and spoke out for fair maps during the redistricting process. When they failed to, the governor rightfully vetoed their unlawful and unfair map. We are going to federal court to demand a map that honors the rights and representation of Black Louisianans. We will be tireless in this fight.”  

    Louisiana’s voting-age population is nearly one-third Black. Under the Legislature’s map, Black Louisianans comprise the majority in only one of the state’s six congressional districts.

    With voting patterns in Louisiana breaking down starkly along racial lines, the result is that congressional candidates supported by the vast majority of Black voters never succeed in any of the five other districts. The result is underrepresentation of Black voters in Louisiana’s congressional delegation, with Black voters having an opportunity to elect candidates of their choice in only one — or 16.7% — of the districts.

    Simultaneously, Louisiana’s white population is dramatically overrepresented. While only 58% of Louisiana’s population is non-Hispanic white, white voters — whose votes also break down along racial lines in most of the state—control the outcome in five out of six — or 83.3% — of the districts under the maps. That control has meant that no Black candidate has won election to any of those seats since the 19th century. Governor Edwards recognized this disparity and rightfully vetoed the legislature’s proposed map because, as he stated, it was “not fair to the people of Louisiana and does not meet the standards set forth in the federal Voting Rights Act.” 

    “People from every corner of Louisiana made their voices heard in the redistricting process in a unified call for fair and representative maps,” said Ashley Shelton, president and CEO of Power Coalition for Equity and Justice. “They demanded a second majority-Black congressional district because the math is simple, and the law is clear. One-third of Louisiana voters are Black. One-third of six is two. The Voting Rights Act requires that Black voters have an equal opportunity to participate in our political processes, and our maps must reflect this. The governor did the right thing by vetoing the map and we hope the courts will now intervene to right the wrongs of the Legislature. The people of Louisiana deserve maps that represent all of us and no longer drown out the voices of Black voters.”