Earlier this year, I reported on a federal civil rights trial in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana (the Baton Rouge area). The plaintiffs alleged that the system used to elect judges in the state’s 32nd Judicial District was unconstitutional in that it disenfranchised minority voters. In particular, plaintiffs alleged that the state’s “at-large” voting system, meaning that judges are chosen through a parish-wide vote even though each judge presides over a specific district. The bench trial concluded at the end of April.
On Thursday, Judge Brady issued a 91-page ruling, concluding that the use of at-large voting in Terrebonne Parish unconstitutionally dilutes the voting power of black voters. The actual remedy will be determined later through a series of conferences with parties and counsel.
The full story and reaction is here.