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Paul, Weiss Wins Important Voting Rights Appeal Restoring New Congressional Maps in Louisiana

In a major voting rights victory reported by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other news outlets, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed a lower court ruling that would have blocked Louisiana’s newly enacted congressional map, which includes a second majority-Black district for the 2024 congressional election. The stay, which comes less than six months before the November election, follows years of litigation led by Paul, Weiss and co-counsel the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the ACLU and the Harvard Election Law Clinic.

In January 2024, following a successful Voting Rights Act lawsuit brought by Paul, Weiss and co-counsel, and years of public advocacy by our clients—the Louisiana NAACP, the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, and a group of individual Louisiana voters—the state of Louisiana enacted for the first time in over 30 years a congressional map in which two of the state’s six congressional districts have a majority-Black population. In the prior Louisiana congressional map, only one out of six congressional districts included a majority-Black population, even though Black voters represent approximately one-third of the state’s voting age population.

A month later, shortly after the new map with two majority-Black districts was enacted, a group of voters who identified themselves as “non-African American” filed suit in the Western District of Louisiana against the Louisiana Secretary of State challenging the plan as an unconstitutional racial gerrymander. Paul, Weiss and co-counsel sought intervention to defend the new map and the state’s authority to remedy the Voting Rights Act violation. The state also intervened to defend the map. Following a three-day trial in Shreveport, Louisiana, the three-judge panel threw out the new map by a 2-1 vote and commenced a process for drawing a remedial map.

Paul, Weiss and co-counsel immediately moved for an emergency stay in the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that the district court misapplied the law and did not take adequate account of the prior ruling, affirmed by two unanimous Fifth Circuit panels, that a map with only one majority-Black congressional district likely violates the Voting Rights Act. The state defendants likewise sought a stay. The Supreme Court issued a stay of the district court’s injunction, allowing the state’s enacted map with two majority-Black districts to remain in place during the 2024 congressional election.

The Paul, Weiss team included litigation counsel Jonathan Hurwitz, associates Amitav Chakraborty, Adam Savitt, Arielle McTootle, Robert Klein, Neil Chitrao and Bridget Warlea. The matter was supervised by litigation partners Robert Atkins and Yahonnes Cleary.

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