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Prof. Justin Levitt's Doug Spencer's Guide to Drawing the Electoral Lines

State Summary

Louisiana’s congressional and state legislative lines are drawn by the legislature, as normal legislation, subject to gubernatorial veto.  Louisiana’s state Senate and state House will next be up for election in 2023.

In the 2020 cycle, the legislature enacted a congressional plan (HB 1 & SB 5), a state Senate plan (SB 1), and a state House plan (HB 14). The state legislative plans became law on Mar. 14, 2022. Gov. Edwards vetoed the congressional plan, but the legislature overrode the veto, and the plan became law on Mar. 30, 2022.

In the 2010 cycle, the legislature enacted a congressional plan (HB 6), state Senate plan (SB 1), and state House plan (HB 1), all signed by the Governor on Apr. 14, 2011.

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Seats: (projected)

Institution:

Drawn by:

Plan Status:

Party Control:
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  Lower House:
  Governor:

Key Info for 2000 Cycle

Website

Primary governing law

Key Info for 2010 Cycle

Website

Primary governing law

Key Info for 2020 Cycle

Primary governing law

Data

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The Latest Updates

May 8, 2024
Plaintiffs in a VRA lawsuit filed an emergency application with the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking to stay a lower court opinion that invalidated the state's congressional districts.
Jan 22, 2024
Gov. Landry signed SB8 into law, adopting a new congressional map that features two minority opportunity districts as instructed by a federal court.
Jan 8, 2024
Governor Landry issued a proclamation calling the Legislature into an "Extraordinary Session" from Jan. 15-24, 2024 to draw new congressional district lines after the current lines were struck down by a federal court.
Nov 10, 2023
The Fifth Circuit affirmed a lower court ruling that Louisiana's congressional districts violate the Voting Rights Act and ordered the state to draw new districts by January 2024.
Jun 28, 2023
The Fifth Circuit asked parties to submit written briefs by July 6, 2023 addressing the impact of Allen v. Milligan on a successful lower court challenge to Louisiana's congressional districts.
Jun 23, 2023
The U.S. Supreme Court vacated its stay of a lower court's order invalidating Louisiana's congressional maps as a violation of the Voting Rights Act. The case will now proceed at the Fifth Circuit.
Jun 28, 2022
The U.S. Supreme Court stayed a lower court injunction that had blocked Louisiana's congressional districts from being used until the state created a second majority-Black district. The state is now free to use the districts in 2022 and work to comply with the lower court's order by 2024.
Jun 20, 2022
The Louisiana state legislature adjourned from its special session without adopting a new congressional map. The task now falls to the federal courts.
Jun 13, 2022
The Fifth Circuit lifted its stay of a lower court ruling that had invalidated Louisiana's congressional districts. The state legislature must now draw new districts by June 20 or the task will fall to the federal courts.
Jun 10, 2022
The Fifth Circuit temporarily stayed a lower court ruling that had invalidated Louisiana's congressional map. The Fifth Circuit will next decide whether to overturn the lower court permanently. In the meantime, the Governor has called a special session of the state legislature to draw a new map.
Jun 6, 2022
A federal judge struck down Louisiana's new congressional map, holding that it violates § 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The state legislature has 14 days to draw a new map with two (instead of one) majority-minority districts out of six. The state immediately appealed the decision to the Fifth Circuit.
Mar 31, 2022
Civil rights groups filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the state's new congressional map as a violation of the Voting Rights Act. Plaintiffs ask for a new map with two majority-minority districts out of six, instead of one.
Mar 30, 2022
The Louisiana legislature overrode Gov. Edwards's veto of the state's new congressional maps.
Mar 30, 2022
A group of Black Louisiana voters, backed by the NAACP, filed a federal lawsuit challenging the state's congressional redistricting plan on grounds that it violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
Mar 28, 2022
The Louisiana legislature will meet in a special session on Mar. 30 to vote on whether to override Gov. Edwards' veto of the state's congressional map.
Mar 15, 2022
The NAACP filed a state court lawsuit to enjoin the use of Louisiana's 2011 congressional redistricting plan in upcoming elections following Gov. Edwards' veto of the new congressional plan recently advanced by the legislature.
Mar 14, 2022
Louisiana Gov. Edwards declined to veto the state legislative plans advanced by the state legislature. The plans now become law.
Mar 9, 2022
Several Louisiana voters filed a lawsuit in state court seeking to have the courts draw a new congressional redistricting map in the event that the state legislature is unable to do so.
Mar 9, 2022
Louisiana Gov. Edwards vetoed the congressional redistricting plan advanced by the legislature for violating the federal Voting Rights Act.
Feb 18, 2022
The Louisiana House and Senate each gave final approval to new state legislative redistricting plans, which will now go to the governor's desk.
Feb 14, 2022
The Louisiana House and Senate each approved tentative legislative redistricting plans.
Feb 10, 2022
The Louisiana House voted to approve the congressional redistricting plan previously approved by the Senate.
Feb 8, 2022
The full Louisiana Senate voted to approve the congressional redistricting map previously advanced out of committee.
Feb 4, 2022
The Louisiana Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee voted to approve state Senate and congressional redistricting plans.
Feb 1, 2022
Lawmakers in Louisiana submitted an array of redistricting proposals at the outset of the special session.
Jan 11, 2022
The Louisiana Legislature will address redistricting in a special session from Feb. 1 through Feb. 20.
Sep 22, 2021
The Louisiana Legislature will hold a special redistricting session in February 2022, preceded by a series of public hearings on the redistricting process.
Sep 17, 2021
The Louisiana Legislature's Joint Governmental Affairs Committee met to discuss redistricting.
Jun 14, 2021
The legislature has approved House Concurrent Resolution No. 90, which provides for minimally acceptable criteria for any proposed redistricting plans.  The full text of the resolution can be read here.
Apr 26, 2021
Several individual Louisiana voters brought a state court challenge to the congressional maps, based on the anticipated failure of the legislature to draw valid lines.

Institution

Louisiana’s congressional and state legislative lines are both drawn by the state legislature, as a regular statute, subject to gubernatorial veto.

The Louisiana constitution grants the state Supreme Court jurisdiction to redraw state legislature lines if the legislature fails to do so. No similar provision exists for congressional lines. [La. Const. art. III, § 6(B)]

Timing

Louisiana state law does not impose a particular deadline for drawing congressional lines, though candidates must file for congressional primary elections by July 22, 2022. [La. Rev. Stat. §§ 18-467(2), –468(a)]  The legislative session is currently scheduled to begin on Apr. 12, 2021, and end on June 10, 2021. The legislature is planning to hold a special redistricting session in February 2022.

The state constitution requires that state legislative lines be drawn by Dec. 31, 2021.  Candidates must qualify for state legislative primary elections by Aug. 10, 2023. [La. Const. art. III, § 6(A); La. Rev. Stat. §§ 18-467(1), -468(b)]

Louisiana places no limits on the ability to redraw congressional or state legislative district lines at any time, including before the next Census. [La. Op. Atty. Gen. No. 99-54 (1999)]

Public input

The legislature will hold a series of public hearings on the redistricting process from October 20, 2021, to January 20, 2022.

In the 2010 cycle, public hearing records were available here for the state House, and here for the state Senate.

Criteria

Like all states, Louisiana must comply with constitutional equal population requirements. The state constitution also asks that state legislative districts be apportioned as equally as practicable on the basis of population.  [La. Const. art. III, § 6]

Louisiana must also, like all states, abide by the Voting Rights Act and constitutional rules on race.

2010 cycle

Louisiana’s legislature enacted congressional plans (HB 6) on Apr. 13, 2011, which were signed by the Governor on Apr. 14, 2011, and precleared on Aug. 1, 2011.  Challenges to the congressional map were voluntarily dismissed.

Louisiana’s legislature passed a state Senate plan (SB 1) on Apr. 12, 2011, and a state House plan (HB 1) on Apr. 11, 2011; both were signed by the Governor on Apr. 14, 2011.  HB 1 was precleared on June 20, 2011, and SB 1 was precleared on June 28, 2011.

2000 cycle

Louisiana’s legislature enacted congressional plans (HB 2) on Oct. 19, 2001, which were precleared on Apr. 1, 2002.

The legislature enacted both state Senate (SB 1) and state House (HB 1) plans on October 16, 2001. The Senate plans were precleared through the Department of Justice on July 2, 2002, but the state sought preclearance through federal court in Washington, D.C., for House plans. A settlement led to a new state House plan (HB 779) enacted by the legislature on May 7, 2003, and precleared on May 20, 2003. It appears that the plans were not further challenged in court.

State House plans were further modified on June 3, 2003 (HB 2011) and June 25, 2004 (HB 910); state Senate plans were further modified on May 13, 2003 (SB 927).

Redistricting Cases in Louisiana

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Louisiana | Congress
Robinson v. Landry (was Ardoin)
Federal court found likely liability for congressional redistricting plan as a VRA violation, legislature passed remedial map
Last Updated May 24, 2024
Case No. 3:22-cv-00211 (M.D. La.); Nos. 22-30333, 23-30642 (5th Cir.); Nos. 21A814, 21-1596, 23A281, 23A282 (S. Ct.)
Cycle 2020
Louisiana | Congress
Callais v. Landry
PENDING - Federal court challenge to congressional maps: alleged unconstitutional use of race, vote dilution
Last Updated May 16, 2024
Case No. 3:24-cv-00122 (W.D. La.), No. 24-30177 (5th Cir.), Nos. 23A994, 23A1002 (S. Ct.)
Cycle 2020
Louisiana | State Upper | State Lower
Nairne v. Landry (was Ardoin)
PENDING - Federal court challenge to state legislative maps: alleged violation of the VRA
Last Updated May 3, 2024
Case No. 3:22-cv-00178 (M.D. La.), No. 24-30115 (5th Cir.)
Cycle 2020