Attorney General Brian E. Frosh asked a federal court Friday to dismiss a lawsuit that claims state lawmakers violated Republicans’ constitutional rights when they redrew Maryland’s congressional boundaries six years ago. The state’s response in the redistricting case — the first since the litigation forced several state Democrats to explain under oath the motivation behind Maryland’s contorted congressional districts — asserts the plaintiffs have offered no evidence voters were targeted simply because they are registered Republicans. Brought by a group of GOP voters in the 6th Congressional District, the case is one of several pending in federal courts that rely on new legal arguments to challenge the constitutionality of political gerrymandering. The Supreme Court recently agreed to hear one of those lawsuits this fall — and that litigation, which comes out of Wisconsin, could play into the Maryland suit.
The Maryland lawsuit, filed in 2013, is focused on how the redrawn 6th District in Western Maryland led to the election of a Democratic congressman for the first time there in more than two decades. The plaintiffs contend the map violated the First Amendment by retaliating against people who voted Republican.
Frosh, a Democrat, countered Friday that there is no evidence the General Assembly targeted individual Republicans for retribution. He also noted that a voter isn’t entitled to be represented in Congress by someone of like mind.