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Paul, Weiss and Co-Counsel Secure Landmark Voting Rights Victory in Louisiana Redistricting Case

As reported by The New York Times, Politico and CNN, Paul, Weiss, together with co-counsel from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the ACLU, the ACLU of Louisiana, and Louisiana lawyers John Adcock and Tracie Washington, achieved a historic voting rights victory in Louisiana. In March, our clients, including individual Louisiana voters, the Louisiana NAACP, and the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, filed a complaint challenging the State’s newly-enacted congressional redistricting plan as violating Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

Under the new redistricting plan, only one of the six congressional districts in the state contains a Black majority even though Black voters represent nearly one third of the state’s voting age population. Following a week-long hearing in federal district court in Baton Rouge, Chief U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick issued a decision granting the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction and prohibiting the State from carrying out any elections under the new redistricting plan. The plaintiffs named as defendant the Louisiana Secretary of State, the State’s chief election officer; the State Attorney General and its legislative leaders subsequently intervened to oppose our claims.

In her 152-page decision, Chief Judge Dick found that the plaintiffs had demonstrated that a second majority-Black district could be “easily achieved” through alternative maps that satisfied traditional redistricting criteria. The court found that without a second majority-Black district, the votes of Black Louisianans are diluted, and that the “totality of circumstances,” including Louisiana’s long and continuing history of racial discrimination, socioeconomic disparity and racially polarized voting, weighed in favor of the plaintiffs’ claims. The court also rejected the defendants’ argument that there was insufficient time between now and the 2022 congressional election to implement a new redistricting plan, and gave the State Legislature until June 20 to enact a new plan that includes two majority-Black districts.

The Paul, Weiss team was led by litigation counsel Jonathan Hurwitz and associates Amitav Chakraborty and Adam Savitt, and supervised by litigation partners Robert Atkins and Yahonnes Cleary. The team also included litigation counsel Daniel Sinnreich and associates Arielle McTootle, Robert Klein, Emily Glavin, Spence Colburn, Briana Sheridan and Ryan Rizzuto.

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