Supreme Court’s surprise Voting Rights Act ruling could lead to a fairer map in Louisiana

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We just saw the latest impact from the Supreme Court’s recent surprise ruling on the Voting Rights Act — the surprise being that the court sided with voting rights in that Alabama case. After that June 8 ruling in Allen v. Milligan, the court on Monday dismissed a similar Voting Rights Act appeal from Louisiana — with the upshot being that a fairer congressional map may be used in Louisiana ahead of the 2024 elections. More broadly, the Milligan case puts Democrats in a better position to win the House of Representatives.

In Milligan, a bare majority of the Supreme Court upheld a crucial part of the Voting Rights Act, the landmark civil rights law that the court had previously gutted another part of in Shelby County v. Holder. Given the court’s opposition to voting rights over the years, including in Shelby County, a similar ruling was expected in the Alabama case.

But in a 5-4 vote, the court said the Alabama map in question diluted Black voting power. The ruling paved the way for fairer maps not only in Alabama but in other states, such as Louisiana — specifically, it paved the way for adding a second “majority-minority” district, creating the possibility of more equal representation relative to the state’s population.

To be sure, the Supreme Court already did damage on this front, by allowing these apparently illegal maps in the 2022 midterms, in which Republicans barely won the House, before its surprise ruling in Milligan. And further litigation will proceed in the Louisiana case at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the most right-wing appeals court in the country. So we will see how the 5th Circuit handles the case going forward.

But with Milligan as precedent, it will be more difficult for right-wing courts to dismantle voting rights.

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