Redistricting suit filed against Jindal

Advocate, The (Baton Rouge, LA) - Friday, September 28, 2012
WASHINGTON - Gov. Bobby Jindal had a federal court summons issued against him this week from a lawsuit alleging the governor and state Legislature conspired to dilute the voting strengths of minorities through congressional redistricting. 

Opelousas resident Ron Ceasar, a doctoral student and former accountant, is suing the governor to temporarily stop the Nov. 6 congressional races in the 3rd, 4th and 5th districts that combine to make up most of southwestern and northern Louisiana. 

Ceasar, who ran a long-shot bid for governor last year, is currently running as a "No Party" candidate against incumbent U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-Quitman. Ceasar also previously led a failed recall effort against Jindal that did not acquire enough signatures. 

Congressional redistricting goes into effect this election cycle beginning with the Nov. 6 elections. 

Louisiana lost a congressional seat because of a lack of population growth, which led to dramatic changes in some congressional districts. 

Ceasar's 5th Congressional District now includes his home of Opelousas and stretches to include northeastern Louisiana. 

"A lot of people in St. Landry Parish are just learning they vote with the people in Monroe," Ceasar said. "It's been carved up like a Thanksgiving turkey." 

The Jindal administration denounced the lawsuit Thursday. 

"This is a frivolous lawsuit," Jindal's executive counsel, Elizabeth Murrill, said in an email response. "The (U.S.) Justice Department already cleared this plan." 

The allegation against the governor asserts the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 was violated by politically attempting to create all majority Republican districts except for one district that has a majority of minorities that now snakes from New Orleans up into much of northern Baton Rouge. 

"The governor of Louisiana, personally got involved in the reapportionment of these congressional districts due to conflict of interest for electing and reelecting white republicans to office," the lawsuit states. 

The suit continues, "King Jindal, as he is known in the Black Community, wishes to dictate the congressional lines and retaliates against those who disagrees with him." 

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Lafayette under federal district Judge Richard Haik. 

State legislative demographer Bill Blair also is named with Jindal as a defendant in the suit.