In a case that could establish a new standard for how courts decide when partisan legislative redistricting crosses the line of constitutionality cleared a major hurdle Thursday. A federal court allowed a lawsuit to proceed that claims that Republican-drawn legislative district maps are unconstitutional. Democrats filed the suit in July, saying the 2012 redistricting plan drawn after the 2010 census so favored Republicans that it violated the civil rights of Democratic voters. Though the plan was crafted by private attorneys and consultants hired by Republican lawmakers, the suit names as defendants the Government Accountability Board, and its executive director, because the board administered elections in the state. The defendants said the issue of partisan gerrymandering is a political one, and the suit should be dismissed because there’s no clear standard for a court to decide the claim.
In an order Thursday in Madison, a three-judge panel said that standard might arise from this case, and found the claim plausible, and solid enough to defeat the defense motion to throw it out at this early stage.
“Although we believe that plaintiffs face significant challenges in prevailing on their claims, we conclude that plaintiffs’ complaint is sufficient to state a claim upon which relief may be granted,” the panel wrote.
The case could create a standard, long sought by the U.S. Supreme Court, for determining how much is too much when it comes to partisan advantages in political redistricting.
Full Article: Federal judges leave open challenge to state redistricting.