You can get mad about it, but you definitely shouldn’t be surprised over Obama appointment Shelly Dick issuing a ruling yesterday that Louisiana’s congressional redistricting map must be thrown out. Obama judges are appointed to do Obama things, and they do. And Shelly Dick, who holds court in the Middle District of Louisiana in Baton Rouge, makes terrible rulings like yesterday’s all the time.
A federal judge has ruled that the Louisiana legislature must redraw its recently approved Congressional District maps to include another majority-minority district.
Like the map used for the last decade, the new map included five of six U.S. Congressional districts that leaned heavily Republican even though roughly a third of Louisiana’s population is Black. Both the old and new maps have only one majority-minority district and it includes parts of New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
The decision was detailed in a 150-page ruling we obtained on June 6.
The ruling read, in part:
“For the reasons set forth herein, the Court concludes that Plaintiffs are substantially likely to prevail on the merits of their claims brought under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The Court finds that absent injunctive relief, the movants are substantially likely to suffer irreparable harm. The Court has considered the balance of equities and hardships associated with injunctive relief, as well as the public policies attendant to the issuance of injunctive relief, and concludes that injunctive relief is required under the law and the facts of this case. The Court hereby GRANTS the Motions for Preliminary Injunction8 and PRELIMINARILY ENJOINS Secretary Ardoin from conducting any congressional elections under the map enacted by the Louisiana Legislature in H.B. 1.”
This is going to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals immediately, and it’s entirely likely – if not assured – that Dick’s ruling will be tossed out.
Everybody knew this would happen. Even Gov. John Bel Edwards, who was demanding a legislative special session to give Louisiana’s Democrats a second majority-black district within minutes of Dick’s decision coming down. That doesn’t mean Edwards and Dick were in cahoots, per se; it does suggest Dick was completely on board with the political impetus to draw one of the five Republican Louisiana congressmen out of a job with race as the justification.
Except the current state of the law prevents the drawing of congressional districts purely based on race. So Dick’s decision is 150 pages of politics, not law. And to make two majority-black districts is going to require a gerrymandering that would make a Rorschach test blush.
Some 30 years ago when Louisiana had eight districts rather than the current six, there was a second majority-black district in Louisiana. Cleo Fields was the congressman in that district, and he had constituents from the banks of the Pearl River, to North Baton Rouge, up the Mississippi River and all along the Arkansas border. The district was an embarrassment and didn’t last.
It’s even harder to draw a majority-black district in Louisiana now. The state’s black population is scattered all over its major cities and in no place in particular other than in Orleans Parish are there enough black people to make up the majority of a congressional district. Even the Second District, which is currently the majority-black one, has to snake up the Mississippi River from New Orleans to grab the large majority-black pocket in North Baton Rouge in order to secure a black majority. A second majority-black district would be sending spindly fingers all across the state in an attempt to pick up black areas in Houma, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Alexandria, Shreveport and Monroe, and that would never pass constitutional muster.
Everybody knows this. They know that the Fifth Circuit isn’t going to put up with this nonsense. But they’re going through the motions anyway, because not to do so is inadequate pandering to the “civil rights” crowd which insists that if Louisiana’s population is going to be one-third black, then by God Louisiana’s congressional districts ought to be one-third black as well – and if that means there’s a congressional district that stretches from Shongaloo to Grand Isle then so be it.
This will be over soon, and the Legislature doesn’t need to wet its pants over Dick’s decision and Edwards’ demands. If he calls them into special session, they ought to show up and gavel it out.
Screw this guy. Let the Fifth Circuit do its work.