The Supreme Court made another major decision on Tuesday when it reinstated a Louisiana GOP congressional districting map that a lower court had blocked just weeks before the primary election.
The district court and appeals court said that the map violated the Voting Rights Act because one-third of the state’s population was black, but only one of six districts on the map had a majority of black voters. The lower court ordered officials to create a second majority-black district to adequately represent that voting group.
The unsigned SCOTUS ruling blocked the lower court’s requirement and “granted a petition seeking review” of the case. A final determination will be made in the court’s next term, when it will also look at an Alabama redistricting case.
In the meanwhile, for the 2022 elections, the GOP’s map will be used, but that could change once the high court considers the case on its merits next term.
Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer dissented from the ruling, the order noted.
When Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin asked the appeals court to freeze the order to change the map, he argued that “the district court has ordered a racial gerrymander that ‘by its very nature’ is particularly ‘odious.’”
The case shows the divergent views of Republicans and Democrats, both of which are claiming discrimination for different reasons.
The decision could have implications for a very close House, which only needs to flip five or six seats to the GOP to shift majority power.
Republicans are widely expected to gain many more seats than they need amid more than 30 Democrat retirements and polling that suggests public opinion has turned against Democrats due to inflation and high gas prices among other economic concerns.
In particular, President Joe Biden’s approval ratings have cratered, which tends to have a significant impact on midterm elections.
For a year and a half, Democrats have held all the power in the executive and legislative branches, and most voters now think the country is heading in the wrong direction at breakneck speed.
If Republicans regain legislative majorities, they will be able to effectively shut down much of Biden’s agenda and hopefully, repair some of the damage he has caused even before there is a reckoning in 2024.