A grassroots group has banded together to tackle the issue of gerrymandering in Louisiana.
“Gerrymandering itself has made the legislative branch so unresponsive to the desires of its constituents that the judicial branch is often the only avenue through which citizens can seek relief from the detrimental effects of gerrymandering,” Stephen Kearny, co-founder of Fair Districts Louisiana, told the Louisiana Record.
Fair Districts Louisiana, founded by Kearny and Brandon Faske, recently hosted the Louisiana Redistricting Summit that brought together interested parties to begin talks on the issue before the 2020 census, Kearny explained.
“While [Attorney General] Jeff Landry's moves on this are not yet totally clear, we do generally oppose any action that would make it more difficult for redistricting cases to be heard,” he said.
His comments come as Landry’s office’s is becoming more and more focused on the redistricting issue.
“As the attorney general, I’m involved in more redistricting cases not because I am actively seeking them, but because the litigation involving redistricting has increased,” Landry recently told LaPolitics in an interview.
Landry has also been involved in filing a brief to the U.S. Supreme Court regarding accusations of gerrymandering in a case involving the Wisconsin General Assembly. The allegations claim the assembly created uneven districts in an effort to favor the Republican Party.
Landry has indicated his concern that the Supreme Court might release a decision that would impact state and congressional maps.
“If this case goes the wrong way, a district like (Congressman) Cedric Richmond’s could be in peril,” Landry told LaPolitics.
It is not just the attorney general who has become consumed with the issue. Gov. John Bel Edwards, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee and the National Republican Redistricting Trust have also entered the discussion and debate on redistricting.
There are a number of pending lawsuits that could also have an impact on the process, including cases in St. John the Baptist and Terrebonne parishes.
The next U.S. Census data is expected to be collected and released in 2020, which means the Legislature's process to redistrict the state will begin in 2021.