The state of Louisiana is being sued for redrawing a congressional district to include a long, thin stretch from New Orleans to Baton Rouge with a high concentration of African Americans.
The racial gerrymandering of Congressional District 2 diminishes the influence of black votes in surrounding districts, says the suit filed by Maytee Buckley and other residents of District 2.
The New Orleans metro area has long been considered the Democratic island in an otherwise Republican state.
“Until recently, Louisiana was deemed a covered jurisdiction under the Voting Rights Act of 1965,” the lawsuit states. “Accordingly, its congressional maps were subject to preclearance by the federal government.”
Key portions of the Voting Rights Act were thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court in June.
Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is the “preclearance provision” which forced states with a history of discriminatory voting practices to receive federal approval before changing voting districts. Section 5 remains in effect until 2031.
The complaint states that officials are “specifically packing African-American voters into Congressional District 2 and thereby diminishing their influence in surrounding districts.”
Claimants say the new, oddly-shaped district, which contains parts of 10 parishes and four Congressional Districts, violates redistricting guidelines and doesn’t respect political or geographical boundaries.
“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.”
Claimants seek an injunction and want the district declared unconstitutional.