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Louisiana must use House map with second mostly Black district, US supreme court rules

The US supreme court on Wednesday ordered Louisiana to hold congressional elections in 2024 using a House map with a second mostly Black district, despite a lower-court ruling that called the map an illegal racial gerrymander.

The order allows the use of a map that has majority Black populations in two of the state’s six congressional districts, potentially boosting Democrats’ chances of gaining control of the closely divided House of Representatives in the 2024 elections.

The justices acted on emergency appeals filed by the state’s top Republican elected officials and Black voters who said they needed the high court’s intervention to avoid confusion as the elections approach. About a third of Louisiana is Black.

Like much of the south, voting is racially polarized in Alabama so any majority-Black district is likely to favor Democrats. Republicans narrowly control the US House and are fighting for an advantage in every seat.

It is the latest development in a long and twisted legal saga over Louisiana’s congressional districts.

Louisiana lawmakers were forced to add a second majority-Black district last year after a federal judge said the map they drew violated the Voting Rights Act. The state approved a map, but then non-white voters challenged it in court, saying lawmakers relied too much on race when drawing it. Lower federal courts agreed the map should be struck down, and the state said it should not be required to use the map for this year’s elections.

The supreme court’s order on Wednesday halts that argument and means the map with a second majority-Black district will be used for this year’s election. What happens after that is unclear.

The supreme court has previously put court decisions handed down near elections on

Read more on theguardian.com