Lawmakers have until June 3 to draw a new congressional map

    A panel of federal judges who recently threw out a congressional election map giving Louisiana a second mostly Black district said Tuesday the state Legislature must pass a new map by June 3 or face having the panel impose one on the state.

    However, voting rights advocates and Republican Attorney General Liz Murrill said they would take an appeal in defense of the new map to the Supreme Court.

    “Today, three federal judges who never spent a day running an election have ignored uncontradicted testimony that we need a map by May 15, and once again turned Louisiana’s Congressional elections upside down,” Murrill said in an emailed statement.

    The latest order from a panel of two federal district judges and an appellate judge said they would begin work on a remedial plan while giving lawmakers a chance to come up with a plan during the current regular legislative session, which must end by June 3.

    “To be clear, the fact that the Court is proceeding with the remedial phase of this case does not foreclose the Louisiana Legislature from exercising its ‘sovereign interest’ by drawing a legally compliant map,” the judges wrote.

    Whatever comes out of the court could impact the makeup of the next U.S. Congress. Given voting patterns, a new mostly Black district would give Democrats the chance to capture another House seat. The map that was recently tossed converted District 6, represented by Republican Rep. Garret Graves, into a mostly Black district. Democratic state Sen. Cleo Fields, a former congressman who is Black, had said he would run for the seat.

    U.S. District Judges David Joseph and Robert Summerhays, both of whom were nominated to the bench by former President Donald Trump, said the newest map violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment because “race was the predominant factor” driving its creation. Appellate Court Judge Carl Stewart, a nominee of former President Bill Clinton, dissented.

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