Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus pleased with federal judge’s ruling over redistricting
BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD)
— A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana denied lawmakers’ request for an extension to draw up a new congressional redistricting plan.
House Speaker Clay Schexnayder and Senate President Page Cortez said there’s not enough time to agree on a map by the June 20th deadline, but the judge was not buying it.
“We’re grateful that the judge has ruled, we do know and understand it’s a process and we want this process to continue but we feel good at this point of where we are,” said State Rep. and Chairman of LLBC Vincent Pierre.
The judge previously ordered legislators to pass a map with two majority-Black districts. State Rep. and LLBC member Royce Duplessis said they are open to negotiations.
“We were given a very clear mandate by the court that any bills that we pass should have two Black districts, and I don’t know what room there is to negotiate outside of that,” said Duplessis.
The judge questioned why the Louisiana House of Representatives waited until tomorrow to hold a hearing about the maps when they are then turning to the court claiming they don’t have enough time.
“So the question was asked earlier whether or not we can get it done, we know we can get it done, the question is do we have the will to get it done,” asked Duplessis.
Cortez told the judge that making the deadline would be very unlikely but not impossible, but this would require suspending the rules which would result in reducing transparency.
“The President mentioned that, listen, we can change the rules to make this process speed up, so I think it could be done,” Pierre said.
The judge says the House Speaker’s efforts were “disingenuous” and pointed out that he proposed the map she already rejected to be considered. He explained to the judge that his map was just a “placeholder.”
“To file a placeholder bill that has already been struck down by the court I think illustrates why the judge said what she said with respect to the speaker,” said Duplessis. “If you needed a placeholder, why not use my bill, House Bill One.”
The LLBC says this is not the end of this battle. The case is expected to be argued at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on July 8th.
“I don’t know if this is going to move the body to act, unfortunately, I think there is still going to be holding out some hope that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals or the U.S. Supreme Court is going to overturn the rulings of today,” said Duplessis.
The judge has given both sides until the end of the day to give her a date to present new maps to her. If they do not have a map to give to the judge, she will draw up her own.