Final court-drawn plans that make minimal changes to current Minnesota congressional districts were released February 21, 2012, following nearly a year of stalemate between DFL Governor Mark Dayton and the Republican-held legislature that failed to produce a mutually agreeable map.
Kentucky lawmakers reached an agreement over new congressional districts on Friday February 10. The original deadline for the map was January 31, but was extended to February 7. When the already delayed candidate filing deadline passed without a new map, the issue was taken to court on February 9 by attorney Scott White of Lexington. The potential for court-created districts likely spurred lawmakers to pass a plan that many remain unhappy with. The new congressional districts were passed in the House by a vote 58-26, and 29-7 in the Senate.
The following districts are examples of gerrymandering in the 2001 bipartisan gerrymander of California, along with a sampling of districts from other states. California Assembly AD 7: 2001 District Corresponding 1991 […]
The Voting Rights Act was enacted to make “the promise of the right to vote under the 15th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution a reality, ninety-five years after [its] passage”. Under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, sixteen states are required to submit any redistricting plans to the U.S. Department of Justice for preclearance. Preclearance is defined as the process of seeking U.S. Department of Justice approval for all changes related to voting. Section 5 of the Act requires that the United States Department of Justice or a three-judge panel of the United States District Court for District of Columbia “preclear” any attempt to change “any voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure with respect to voting…” in any “covered jurisdiction”.
The Supreme Court decided on January 20th to stay the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in the matter of West Virginia’s new congressional districts, meaning that upcoming congressional elections will be conducted in the new districts created by West Virginia’s legislature following the 2010 Census.
On January 17th, Arizona’s Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) officially approved the state’s new Congressional districts. The vote was a major milestone in this year’s particularly tumultuous redistricting process. The Commission split along party lines, with the two Democratic members supporting the redistricting plan and the two Republican members opposing it. Independent Chairwoman Colleen Mathis cast her swing vote in favor of the plan, making the final vote 3-2.
On January 20th, the United States Supreme Court ordered a federal court in Texas to reconsider the maps it had drawn for the state’s legislative districts. The Court unanimously held that the lower court may not have used “appropriate standards” in drawing the new maps. Instead, the lower court had “substituted its own concept of the collective public good for the Texas legislature’s determination of which policies serve the interests of the citizens of Texas.” The Court remanded the case to the district court to draw new maps, this time starting from the plan created by the state legislature last year. Please see this earlier coverage by the Rose Report for a more in-depth analysis on the background of the case.
Attorneys representing Minnesota’s Republican and Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) parties spoke before a special panel of the Minnesota Supreme Court on January 4 in a hearing concerning the placement of Minnesota’s new legislative boundaries.
The Supreme Court on Monday held 70 minutes of argument for three cases on the new state legislative and congressional districts Texas will use in 2012 and beyond. The three cases under review are Perry v. Perez (11-713) on redistricting the state house, Perry v. Davis (11-714) on redistricting the state senate, and Perry v. Perez (11-715) on redistricting the U.S. House. At issue is whether the San Antonio federal court had the authority to impose a new legislative district plan on Texas when the state legislature’s plan had not obtained the “preclearance” required under Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The cases focus on Section 5 issues, but have broader implications for the division of power between state legislatures and federal courts in redistricting.
On January 10th, the California redistricting process moves to the State Supreme Court. The Court faces a question it would undoubtedly prefer to avoid: the degree of involvement it will have in redistricting the State Senate.