Lawsuit Accuses Louisiana of Racial Gerrymandering
The state of Louisiana is being sued over a newly drawn congressional district that plaintiffs say was racially gerrymandered.
Residents of Congressional District 2 claim its configuration, which runs from New Orleans to Baton Rouge—a distance of about 80 miles, violates the U.S. constitution.
The lawsuit says the state packed African-Americans into District 2, “thereby diminishing their influence in surrounding districts.”
The litigation cites the June 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision (Shelby County v. Holder) that threw out portions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The plaintiffs claim that those who drew the district’s boundaries relied on a portion of the statute voided by the court.
“Louisiana can no longer seek refuge in Section 5 as an excuse to racially gerrymander Congressional District 2. Drawn with race as its predominant purpose, this district cannot pass constitutional muster,” the lawsuit states.
Iulia Filip of Courthouse News Service described the district’s shape as looking “something like a mutant salamander.”
“Congressional District 2’s tortured shape further contorts the districts around it,” the complaint states. “Congressional District 6 surrounds Congressional District 2 on three sides, appearing to shoot Congressional District 2 out of its cragged jaws like a crooked tongue.”
To Learn More:
Racial Gerrymandering Lawsuit in Louisiana (by Iulia Filip, Courthouse News Service)
Could Gerrymandering that Helped GOP in 2012 Backfire in 2014? (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Redrawing the Map on Redistricting 2012 (Azavea) (pdf)
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