The Louisiana Secretary of State and Attorney General asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday to block a federal judge’s order for the state to create a black congressional district with a second majority by Monday.
Judge Shelly Dick’s ruling “threws the election process into chaos and creates confusion across the state,” according to a 51-page motion filed by the attorney general’s office for Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin.
The judge refused to give lawmakers another 10 days on Thursday, again calling the arguments of Senate Speaker Page Cortez and House Speaker Clay Schexnayder unfair and insincere. She noted that with less than a week to do the job, lawmakers met for just 90 minutes on Wednesday, the first day of a special reclassification session.
On Thursday, a Senate committee met to discuss a map that matches the current map, along with a map that would form a second-majority black district.
Redistricting has divided the Republican-dominated legislature and Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, since February, when the legislature approved a congressional card with white majorities in five of the six districts.
Edwards vetoed it, saying that because Louisiana’s population is nearly one-third black, at least two districts should have an African-American majority. The legislature has overturned its veto. Dick then ordered lawmakers to create new districts, including two that are predominantly black, ruling that the current map violates the Voting Rights Act by reducing the impact of voting by black people.
Friday’s motion argued that “this case asks the exact question” judges will rule in an Alabama case, so either the two must be consolidated or the Louisiana case must wait for the Alabama case to be decided.
The Supreme Court gave the two groups of black voters who are suing the state until Thursday to respond.
Dick has ordered lawyers from both sides to provide cards that she will use to sign her own if the legislature doesn’t meet Monday’s deadline.
In her original 152-page ruling on June 6, Dick noted that when the judges postponed Alabama’s reclassification order, that state’s primary election was much closer. Louisiana will hold its open congressional primaries on November 8, the same day as the general election. Candidates must apply before July 22.
“A stay increases the risk that plaintiffs won’t be able to vote under a non-dilutive congressional card until 2024, nearly halfway through this census cycle,” she wrote three days later, refusing to keep her injunction.
McConnaughey was reporting from New Orleans. AP reporter Mark Sherman contributed from Washington.
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