“Here’s how a major ruling on the Voting Rights Act could affect Louisiana”


A ruling this week that private individuals and groups can’t demand enforcement of the Voting Rights Act could have major impact in Louisiana, as the state uses that decision to try to quash a legal challenge to its Republican-drawn congressional maps.

The ruling by a federal appeals court in St. Louis created “new and important” precedent to an ongoing lawsuit against Louisiana’s maps, Attorney General and Gov.-elect Jeff Landry wrote in documents filed Wednesday with the New Orleans-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

The 5th Circuit — viewed as one of the most conservative courts in the federal appellate system — had ruled days earlier that Louisiana’s map likely violates the Voting Rights Act, and gave lawmakers until Jan. 15 to come up with a new redistricting plan. The court explicitly acknowledged then that private citizens have a right to sue under Section 2 of the landmark 1965 law.

Monday’s conflicting decision by Missouri’s U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit will almost certainly be appealed to the Supreme Court. If upheld, legal experts predict it would dramatically erode enforcement of the Civil Rights-era law that grew the voting power of Black Americans….

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