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Louisianas Murrill asks U.S. Supreme Court for a stay in redistricting case

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(The Center Square) – The state of Louisiana is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to grant a stay in a congressional redistricting case because officials say they don’t have enough time to draw new maps.

Louisiana Attorney General Liz Murrill filed the request with the court on Friday to request allowing the state to use the most recent map drawn by lawmakers, also at the behest of a federal court.

According to the filing, the state must finalize any map by Wednesday in order to keep filing deadlines for candidates and print ballots or else risk “election chaos.”

“The least-disruptive path forward at this point is to stay the injunction for the 2024 congressional elections while this appeal runs its course,” the filing says.

Officials say in the filing that the deadlines issued by the three-judge panel from the U.S. District Court of Western Louisiana are unworkable. The court says the redraw period would start two days after the May 15 deadline, concluded with a hearing on May 30 and new districts would be required from lawmakers by June 30.

The request came after a three-judge panel ruled on April 30 in favor of a group of “non-African American” voters who say the new maps represented a racial gerrymander as lawmakers tried to satisfy an order for two majority Black districts by another federal court.

The litigants also said the new districts were drawn to protect three Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives: Speaker Mike Johnson, Majority Leader Steve Scalise and Rep. Julia Letlow.

The Legislature adopted new maps during a five-day special session called by Gov. Jeff Landry to address a court order from U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick to redraw the state’s congressional districts by Jan. 31.

The order was issued in the case known as Robinson v. Landry. Plaintiffs in that case said Black voters were unable to vote for the candidate of their choice with only one majority Black congressional district in the 2022 maps. Dick ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and ordered lawmakers to draw a new map.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the case.