US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Opinions
In Re: Jeff Landry
Opinion Date: September 28, 2023
Judge: Edith H. Jones
Areas of Law: Civil Procedure, Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Election Law
Louisiana’s Attorney General filed a request for mandamus relief seeking to vacate the district court’s hearing scheduled to begin on October 3 and require the district court to promptly convene trial on the merits of this congressional redistricting case.
The Fifth Circuit granted in part and ordered the district court to vacate the October Hearing. The court explained that redistricting based on section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, 52 U.S.C. Section 10301, is complex, historically evolving, and sometimes undertaken with looming electoral deadlines. The court explained that the district court did not follow the law of the Supreme Court or the Fifth Circuit court. Its action in rushing redistricting via a court-ordered map is a clear abuse of discretion for which there is no alternative means of appeal. Issuance of the writ is justified “under the circumstances” in light of multiple precedents contradicting the district court’s procedure here. The court held that the state has no other means of relief and is not seeking to use mandamus as a substitute for appeal. Further, the court noted that if this were ordinary litigation, the court would be most unlikely to intervene in a remedial proceeding for a preliminary injunction. Redistricting litigation, however, is not ordinary litigation. The court held that the district court here forsook its duty and placed the state at an intolerable disadvantage legally and tactically.
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