NEW ORLEANS, LA—Today, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a writ of mandamus to vacate the remedial hearing set for Oct. 3 – 5 in Robinson v. Ardoin, the challenge to Louisiana’s discriminatory congressional map. The District Court hearing to determine the new map is canceled, for now.
This procedural writ does not overturn the substantive decisions on the case thus far, including the preliminary injunction which continues to prohibit the State from conducting any elections on the discriminatory map enacted by the Louisiana Legislature last year. The Fifth Circuit oral argument on Friday, Oct. 6 regarding the State’s initial violation of the Voting Rights Act will take place as scheduled.
The lawsuit, filed in March 2022, argues that the state’s congressional map severely dilutes the voting power of Black Louisianians and violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act by failing to add a second majority-Black district.
The lawsuit was filed by the Louisiana State Conference of the NAACP, Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, and individuals Press Robinson, Dorothy Nairne, E. René Soulé, Alice Washington, and Clee Ernest Lowe. The plaintiffs are represented by the Legal Defense Fund, American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Louisiana, Harvard Election Law Clinic, Louisiana attorneys John Adcock and Tracie Washington, and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.
“The need for a new map that provides a fair opportunity for Black Louisianians to elect their candidates of choice is unshaken,” said LDF voting rights attorney Victoria Wenger. “We look forward to continuing this fight in the courts for a second majority-Black district in advance of the 2024 elections.”
“We are delayed but not deterred,” said Ashley Shelton, President and CEO of Power Coalition for Equity and Justice. “Black voters in the State of Louisiana have been clear in our calls for fair and equitable maps through this entire redistricting process. We are unrelenting in our commitment to seeing this vision through.”
“This litigation remains far from over,” said Alanah Odoms, ACLU of Louisiana executive director. “Our challenge to Louisiana’s racially gerrymandered congressional maps will continue as we fight to ensure Black and brown voters have fair opportunities to elect candidates of their choosing.”
“We won’t stop fighting for voting access for all,” said Sarah Brannon, managing attorney of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project. “Black voters in Louisiana deserve fair representation and we’ll continue until the Louisiana Congressional map reflects the diverse population it serves.”