BATON ROUGE, La. — Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards sent a letter to the Senate President and Speaker of the House explaining why it is premature to cancel the Extraordinary Session of the Louisiana Legislature set to begin June 15, 2022, which the Governor called after the Middle District Court ruled that the maps of Louisiana’s congressional districts drawn by Republicans in the legislature violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
Late Thursday, the Fifth Circuit issued an administrative stay of the Middle District Court’s injunction directing the Legislature to draw new maps. However, the court also requested briefings be filed by the parties regarding the stay request by 4 p.m. on Friday, June 10. Given the expedited timeline, there will likely be additional action by the Fifth Circuit on the stay request before the session is set to begin on June 15.
The Governor’s letter advised the Speaker and the President that, while he is not rescinding the special session call at this time, he will rescind the call if a stay from the Fifth Circuit is in place as of 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 14.
In the letter, Gov. Edwards states:
“I remain hopeful that the Fifth Circuit will vacate the administrative stay and allow Judge Dick’s well-reasoned decision and injunction to remain in place. I believe the legislature can and should meet next week to enact maps that create a second majority minority district. Further, while I am mindful of the costs to the taxpayers as pointed out in your press release, it is clear that the state would have saved the unknown thousands of dollars being spent on out-of-state lawyers if the legislature had originally enacted maps that comply with the Voting Rights Act and the standard of fundamental fairness. It is not too late for the legislature to do the right thing. However, while I am Governor, I also remain an officer of the court, and I respect the Fifth Circuit’s authority over this matter. Should the Court retain a stay over Judge Dick’s decision, I agree that further action of the legislature should be delayed until the Fifth Circuit can review the merits of her decision.”
As of now, the Special Session will begin on June 15, 2022 and must adjourn by 6 p.m. on June 20, 2022.