GOP Controlled Gerrymandering Struck Down For Racial Bias

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In her 150-page ruling, Judge Shelly Dick told the Republican-led Louisiana government to toss their existing gerrymandered redistricting and draw a map that reflects the state’s districts more equitably. She ordered Louisiana’s lawmakers to insert an additional district that allows Black voters an opportunity to have a representative of their own choosing.

The Republican-heavy legislature had stuffed Black voters into the state’s Second Congressional District, which is 70 percent Black. Then it divided the remaining Black voters “among the remaining five districts,” in other words gerrymandering. The Brennan Center for Justice calls gerrymandering “deeply undemocratic.”

Lousiana Governor John Bel Edwards said:

‘[The gerrymandering] simply not fair to the people of Louisiana and does not meet the standards set forth in the federal Voting Rights Act.’

Judge Dick of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana was appointed by President Barack Obama. She ordered the State Legislature to change the state’s map of six districts. Her deadline was June 20. In addition, she told Louisiana to “extend the filing deadline for House candidates, now set for June 22, to July 8.”

She wanted to give the state time for primaries, but also set the deadline well before the November 8 elections.

Governor Edwards continued:

‘[The gerrymandering] simply not fair to the people of Louisiana and does not meet the standards set forth in the federal Voting Rights Act.’

The Supreme Court case cited the Purcell principle which forbade the court from changing laws and rules too close to the elections. For that reason, SCOTUS overruled many court decisions about election laws. Judge Dick spoke against that argument indicating it was not applicable in this case.

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According to Louisiana’s attorney general, redrawing the state’s maps would “act like a hurricane” in its attempt to meet “the state election schedule.” However, Judge Dick told those who considered the new state districts too “inconvenient” to change that the situation was  “far from impossible to carry out:”

‘Placing a bureaucratic strain on a state agency in order to rectify a violation of federal law is not analogous to a natural disaster. Protecting voting rights is quite clearly in the public interest, while allowing elections to proceed under a map that violates federal law most certainly is not.’

Louisiana’s population is about one-third Black while 57 percent are White. Louisiana’s African American demographic grew 3.8 percent in the past ten years. Conversely, the White population went down by 6.3 percent.

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Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.


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