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'We are choosing to be the Louisiana of the past' | Law makers fail to draw new congressional map

Louisiana Middle District U.S. Judge Shelly Dick said she’d redraw the map herself if the Louisiana legislature wouldn’t – now it looks like she’ll have to.

NEW ORLEANS — The math is easy.

Louisiana has six congressional seats. Our population is one-third Black. So, under the Voting Rights Act, Louisiana should have two majority-Black congressional districts.

On Saturday, the Louisiana Legislature decided that one was enough.
After being ordered by a federal judge to create a second majority-minority district in the state, Louisiana Legislature ended their special session two days early with nothing to show for it.

Louisiana Middle District U.S. Judge Shelly Dick said she’d redraw the map herself if the Louisiana legislature wouldn’t – now I looks like she’ll have to.

“I think that continues to add to the legacy of Louisiana whereby people of color, Black people in particular, their rights, their representation in the political process has only come through federal intervention,” Rep. Royce Duplessis (D-New Orleans) said after the special session ended.

Rep. Duplessis was one of the legislators who submitted a new congressional map for approval. He says his map checked all the right boxes, but still never stood a chance.

He believes what’s happening now is a clear example of the instructional racism Louisiana has always lived with.

“When we make decisions like this, we send a message to the rest of the country that we are choosing to be the Louisiana of the past,” he said. “We're not choosing to be the Louisiana of the future.”

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and Sec. of State Kyle Ardoin asked the Supreme Court to intervene and put a hold on Judge Dick’s order.

WWL-TV Political Analyst Clancy Dubos said that the Supreme Court could ultimately rule in their favor and keep Louisiana congressional map as is.

“The Supreme Court has already ruled in the past that protecting incumbents is a legitimate concern,” DuBos said. “I think the legislature is going to try to argue to the courts that ‘we’re not trying to infringe on the rights of African Americans, we’re simply trying to draw lines that protect our incumbents who have some seniority.’”

Those lines are now in the hands of federal judges instead of Louisiana’s leaders.

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