A Republican claim of bias in the legislative redistricting process does not stand up under scrutiny, according to an attorney for the Independent Redistricting Commission. In legal briefs filed at the U.S. Supreme Court, Mary O’Grady points out that challengers to the maps drawn by the five-member commission claim it purposely created unequal districts for partisan purposes. They charge that the panel “packed” Republicans into some districts in a deliberate effort to give Democrats an edge. O’Grady said that was not the primary purpose, a conclusion backed by the majority of a three-judge panel in a ruling last year. She said the real aim was to protect minority voting strength as required by the federal Voting Rights Act. Anyway, she said, if commissioners really intended to boost Democrat representation in the Legislature, they failed.
“Even if there was evidence that some commissioners had a partisan motivation with some changes, when you look at the map itself, there’s no real partisan advantage to the Democrats,” she told Capitol Media Services. “In fact, it probably tilts the other way.”
She said that in 2012, Republicans amounted to 54.4 percent of those registered with one of the two major parties in the state. Yet that year Republicans won 60 percent of the 60 House seats and 57 percent of the 30 Senate seats, a margin that did not change in last year’s election.
In separate legal filings Monday, the U.S. Department of Justice, in its own legal brief Monday, is urging the justices to throw out the challenge because Republicans have “slightly more than their proportionate share of seats in the state legislature.”
Full Article: Redistricting panel disputes GOP bias claim.