The Supreme Court yesterday blocked some judicial elections scheduled Tuesday in Louisiana.
The court, by a 7 to 2 vote, granted an emergency request by blacks in the state who said the elections would violate the federal Voting Rights Act because the districts and the election date have not been submitted to or approved by the Justice Department, as required by the law.
The court order barred elections for trial judges in 10 districts and appeals court judges in two districts.
A three-judge federal court on Oct. 24 permitted the elections but warned candidates that winners would be removed from office if their districts did not receive federal approval within 90 days.
The Bush administration sided with the blacks who challenged the judicial elections. The Justice Department said permitting the elections would violate the Voting Rights Act, even though the judges would have been elected on a provisional basis.
The law requires Louisiana and other southern states to submit any election changes for Justice Department approval. The department said incumbent judges could remain in office until it studies the districts and decides whether blacks' voting power has been reduced illegally.
Justices Byron R. White and Harry A. Blackmun dissented, voting to permit the elections.