The Idaho Supreme Court overturned a controversial plan to redraw the state’s legislative districts Tuesday, ordering the commission that made it to adopt a new district map that more closely follows the state and U.S. constitutions.
Twin Falls County Prosecutor Grant Loebs filed a petition on behalf of four Idaho counties and four cities in November, arguing that it wasn’t necessary to split so many counties to create 35 legislative districts of roughly equal population. In the 4-1 decision, the Supreme Court agreed that the adopted map splits more counties than is necessary to meet the U.S. Constitution’s requirement of one person, one vote. It ordered the Redistricting Commission to reconvene and adopt a map with minimal county splits.
The court specifically declined to recommend or adopt an alternate plan.
Justice Jim Jones was the lone dissenter. He cited the redistricting committee’s power of discretion as the main reason he disagreed with the ruling. “… I believe this Court should, as it has in the past, grant substantial deference to determinations made by the Commission,” he wrote. “In my view, the Commission performed in an exemplary fashion in developing Plan L87.” He went on to say that challengers didn’t effectively back up their complaints about the unconstitutionality of the plan.
Secretary of State Ben Ysursa also expressed concern that the court’s decision removed discretion from the equation and limited the number of maps the commission could adopt. “The number of plans you can draw with the minimal county splits is a reduced number, so… their options are reduced,” Ysursa said.
Full Article: Idaho Supreme Court Throws Out Redistricting Plan.