TagRedistricting

Louisiana legislature adjourns special redistricting session without new congressional boundaries, plaintiffs appeal to SCOTUS

The Louisiana legislature adjourned a special redistricting session on June 18 without approving revised congressional district boundaries. Governor John Bel Edwards (D) had called the special session on June 7 after the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana struck down the state’s congressional district map and enjoined the state from using the districts for the 2022 elections. The special session began on June 15 and was scheduled to end on June 20.

After the session adjourned, State Sen. Rick Ward (R) said, “The problem I’ve run into is that we can’t find anything collectively that can get us to 20 votes. It’s a difficult task, one quite frankly that I think the courts will have to decide.” District Court Justice Shelly Dick, who authored the decision overturning the map, had previously set a hearing to review proposed redistricting plans on June 29. The judge’s original order said that the court would enact a remedial congressional district plan if the legislature did not do so by June 20.

The U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit had issued an administrative stay of the district court’s ruling on June 9 pending further proceedings and vacated that stay on June 12.

On June 17, Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin (R) and Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) asked the Supreme Court of the United States to stay the federal district court’s decision overturning the congressional map pending appeal and petitioned the court to hear the case. The plaintiff’s appeal said, “If Section 2 [of the Voting Rights Act] does not require creating a gerrymandered second majority-Black district, Louisiana’s entire electorate suffers an irreversible Fourteenth Amendment violation when they next cast their ballots for their congressional representatives…Given the risk to the public that would arise without a stay, entering one far outweighs any burden Plaintiffs may claim.”

Louisiana originally enacted congressional district boundaries on March 30 when the state legislature overrode Gov. Edwards’ veto of legislation establishing the new districts. On March 9, Gov. Edwards vetoed the congressional district map that the legislature had passed on February 18. The state Senate voted to override the governor’s veto 27-11, with all ‘yes’ votes from Republicans and all ‘no’ votes from Democrats. The state House of Representatives overrode Gov. Edwards’ veto 72-32 with 68 Republicans, three independents, and one Democrat voting in favor and all votes against by Democrats.

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New York court overturns state Assembly map for 2024; rules existing boundaries be used for this year’s elections

An appellate division of the New York Supreme Court ruled on June 10 that the state’s Assembly district boundaries adopted in February 2022 were invalid but should still be used for the 2022 legislative elections. The appellate division ruling determined that the Assembly district map was enacted in violation of the state’s constitutional redistricting process and that a New York City-based state trial court should oversee new boundaries for the 2024 elections.

The court’s order said, “The petition is timely to the extent it seeks a declaration that the February 2022 assembly map is invalid due to procedural infirmities in the manner in which it was adopted…and, consistent with that decision, we so declare.” The order also said, “The request for a delay of the 2022 assembly primary elections is denied in any event, because the redrawing and implementing of a new assembly map before a 2022 primary election delayed even until September is, at this late date, no longer feasible.”

New York enacted new state Senate districts on May 20 when Steuben County Surrogate Court Justice Patrick McAllister ordered the adoption of maps drawn by a court-appointed redistricting special master. McAllister had overturned the Senate district boundaries on March 31 for violating the state’s process for redistricting. The New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, upheld McAllister’s decision on April 27. On April 29, McAllister postponed New York’s primary elections for congressional and legislative districts to August 23.

In 2014, New York voters approved a constitutional amendment establishing new redistricting procedures beginning in 2020. This amendment created a 10-member commission to adopt redistricting plans, with state legislative leaders appointing eight members of the commission and the commission itself selecting the other two members. The amendment required that the legislature reject two separate sets of redistricting plans before amending the commission’s proposals and districts not be drawn to favor or disfavor candidates or parties. In prior redistricting cycles, the legislature was responsible for its own redistricting.

The commission voted 5-5 on January 3, 2022, on two sets of proposals for legislative redistricting, so it submitted both sets of proposals to the legislature. Both the state Assembly and state Senate voted down the map proposals on January 10 and the commission did not submit a new set of maps to the legislature. On February 3, 2022, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) signed new state legislative district boundaries that the legislature had developed after the state Senate approved them 43-20 and the state Assembly approved, 120-27.

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Federal appeals court allows ruling overturning Louisiana’s congressional boundaries to remain

On June 12, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit vacated an administrative stay it had issued on June 9 of a federal district court’s ruling that struck down Louisiana’s congressional district boundaries. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals also denied motions to stay the district court’s decision pending appeal. As a result, the congressional districts that the legislature adopted in March are overturned.

In its ruling, the court wrote, “Although we must acknowledge that this appeal’s exigency has left us little time to review the record, we conclude that, though the plaintiffs’ arguments and the district court’s analysis are not without weaknesses, the defendants have not met their burden of making a ‘strong showing’ of likely success on the merits.”

The Fifth Circuit’s ruling directed “the Clerk to issue an expedited briefing schedule and to calendar this matter for argument before the next available randomly selected merits panel that is already scheduled to hear arguments during the week of July 4, 2022…it is feasible that the merits panel, conducting a less-rushed examination of the record in the light of differently framed arguments, may well side with the defendants.”

The United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana had struck down the state’s congressional district map on June 6 and blocked the state from using the districts for the 2022 elections. The district court’s order blocking the map said, “The appropriate remedy in this context is a remedial congressional redistricting plan that includes an additional majority-Black congressional district. The United States Supreme Court instructs that the Legislature should have the first opportunity to draw that plan. Therefore, the Court ORDERS the Louisiana Legislature to enact a remedial plan on or before June 20, 2022. If the Legislature is unable to pass a remedial plan by that date, the Court will issue additional orders to enact a remedial plan.”

Louisiana enacted a new congressional map on March 30 when the state legislature overrode Gov. John Bel Edwards’ (D) veto of legislation establishing the new districts. The state Senate voted to override 27-11 with all ‘yes’ votes from Republicans and all ‘no’ votes from Democrats. The state House of Representatives overrode Edwards’ veto 72-32 with 68 Republicans, three independents, and one Democrat voting in favor and all votes against by Democrats. Gov. Edwards had vetoed the congressional district map on March 9.

On June 7, Gov. Edwards called a special legislative session on redistricting that began June 15 and was scheduled to end on June 20. Louisiana’s filing deadline for congressional candidates is July 22.

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Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals stays district court ruling blocking Louisiana’s congressional district map

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued an administrative stay on June 9 of a federal district court ruling blocking Louisiana’s congressional district map pending further proceedings. The United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana had struck down the state’s congressional district map on June 6 and blocked the state from using the districts for the 2022 elections.

The federal district court’s order blocking the map said, “The appropriate remedy in this context is a remedial congressional redistricting plan that includes an additional majority-Black congressional district. The United States Supreme Court instructs that the Legislature should have the first opportunity to draw that plan. Therefore, the Court ORDERS the Louisiana Legislature to enact a remedial plan on or before June 20, 2022. If the Legislature is unable to pass a remedial plan by that date, the Court will issue additional orders to enact a remedial plan.”

Louisiana enacted a new congressional map on March 30 when the state legislature overrode Gov. John Bel Edwards’ (D) veto of legislation establishing the new districts. The state Senate voted to override 27-11 with all ‘yes’ votes from Republicans and all ‘no’ votes from Democrats. The state House of Representatives overrode Edwards’ veto 72-32 with 68 Republicans, three independents, and one Democrat voting in favor and all votes against by Democrats. Gov. Edwards had vetoed the congressional district map on March 9, saying, “This map is simply not fair to the people of Louisiana and does not meet the standards set forth in the federal Voting Rights Act.”

Louisiana’s filing deadline for congressional candidates is July 22.

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Federal court enacts legislative maps for Ohio’s 2022 elections

A ruling issued by the United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit took effect on May 28, ordering the enactment of state legislative maps for Ohio’s 2022 elections and setting the legislative primary date for August 2, 2022. The Ohio Redistricting Commission approved the maps selected by the court in February 2022. The court ruled on April 20 and said the maps would take effect if state court proceedings had not produced an alternative by May 28.

The Ohio Redistricting Commission initially approved a set of legislative maps in a 5-2 vote along party lines on September 16, 2021. The Ohio Supreme Court struck down those maps in a 4-3 decision on January 12, 2022, and ordered the commission to redraw them. Since then, the state supreme court has rejected four sets of maps submitted by the commission, including the February maps enacted by the federal court. The commission initially approved those maps on February 24 in a 4-3 vote and approved them a second time on May 5 in a 4-3 vote. State Auditor Keith Faber (R) joined the two Democratic members of the commission in voting against the maps. The state supreme court rejected both submissions. 

The state court proceedings are ongoing, with another deadline for revised maps set for June 3. The federal ruling applies to the maps for 2022 elections, meaning the state court proceedings may produce maps for subsequent legislative elections.

As of May 28, 49 states have adopted new state legislative maps, making Montana the final state to have not adopted legislative maps for the 2022 elections. As of May 28, 2012, 46 states had enacted legislative redistricting plans after the 2010 census.

Nationwide, states have completed legislative redistricting for 1,923 of 1,972 state Senate seats (97.5%) and 5,313 of 5,411 state House seats (98.2%).

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New Hampshire becomes final state to enact congressional map

New Hampshire enacted the final congressional map of the 2020 redistricting cycle on May 31, 2022, when the New Hampshire Supreme Court approved a map drawn by redistricting special master Nathaniel Persily. New Hampshire was apportioned two seats in the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2020 census, one more than it received after the 2010 census. This map will take effect for New Hampshire’s 2022 congressional elections.

The New Hampshire Supreme Court assumed control over the redistricting process as part of a lawsuit filed by former New Hampshire House Speaker Terie Norelli (D) and several voters. On April 11, the court announced it would take control of the process if the state legislature and governor could not draw a new congressional map.

The New Hampshire state legislature approved two congressional map bills. The first was approved 186-164 in the New Hampshire House on January 5 and 13-11 in the New Hampshire Senate on March 17. Shortly after the map was approved by the Senate, Gov. Chris Sununu (R) said he planned to veto the map. The House voted 176-171 and the Senate voted 14-10 to approve a second map bill on May 26. On the same day, Sununu said he planned to veto the map.

As of May 31, 43 states have adopted new congressional maps, six states were apportioned one congressional district (so no congressional redistricting is required), and Florida’s congressional map is currently undergoing a legal challenge. As of May 31 in 2012, 42 states had enacted congressional redistricting plans.

States have completed congressional redistricting for 408 of the 435 seats (93.8%) in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Alaska completes state legislative redistricting

Alaska completed its state legislative redistricting on May 24 when the Alaska Redistricting Board adopted a new map of state Senate districts at the direction of the Alaska Supreme Court. The state had initially enacted legislative district boundaries on Nov. 10, 2021, following a 3-2 vote by the redistricting board. The three Republican-appointed board members voted in favor of the map and the two nonpartisan board members voted against it.

The Alaska Supreme Court had ruled on March 25 that one state House and one state Senate district did not comply with the state constitution and required the redistricting board to redraw the districts. The Alaska Redistricting Board adopted new legislative district boundaries to comply with the state supreme court’s ruling on April 13. A group of plaintiffs challenged the mapping of state House to state Senate districts and on May 16, the Third District of Alaska’s Superior Court ruled that the April 13 map was unconstitutional.

The Alaska Supreme Court upheld the superior court’s decision on May 24. In its ruling, the state supreme court wrote, “We AFFIRM the superior court’s determination that the Board again engaged in unconstitutional political gerrymandering to increase the one group’s voting power at the expense of others.” The court’s ruling also affirmed “the superior court’s order that the Board adopt the Option 2 proclamation plan as an interim plan for the 2022 elections.”

As of May 25, 48 states have adopted legislative district maps for both chambers. The Ohio Supreme Court overturned that state’s previously enacted maps and Montana has not yet adopted legislative redistricting plans after the 2020 census.

Nationwide, legislative redistricting has been completed for 1,890 of 1,973 state Senate seats (95.8%) and 5,214 of 5,413 state House seats (96.3%).

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Missouri enacts new congressional district boundaries after the 2020 census

Missouri enacted new congressional district boundaries on May 18 when Gov. Mike Parson (R) signed them into law. Missouri was apportioned eight seats in the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2020 census, the same number it received after the 2010 census. This map will take effect for Missouri’s 2022 congressional elections.

The Missouri House of Representatives approved the final version of the new congressional districts—HB 2909—on May 9 by a vote of 101-47. Eighty-six Republicans and 15 Democrats approved the new map and 28 Democrats and 19 Republicans voted against it. The state Senate approved the redistricting legislation on May 11 by a vote of 22-11. Sixteen Republicans and six Democrats voted to approve the new map and seven Republicans and four Democrats voted against.

According to Rudi Keller of the Missouri Independent, “No change in the partisan makeup of the Missouri delegation, currently six Republicans and two Democrats, is expected as a result of the map.”

After Senate passage, State Sen. Mike Bernskoetter (R) said, “I believe the new map does a good job of balancing Missouri’s regions and their different views. It meets all the requirements we are constitutionally obligated to meet.”

As of May 25, 42 states have adopted new congressional maps, six states were apportioned one congressional district (so no congressional redistricting is required), Florida’s map was overturned by a court decision that is under appeal, and New Hampshire has not yet adopted congressional redistricting plans. As of May 25 in 2012, 42 states had enacted congressional redistricting plans.

States have completed congressional redistricting for 406 of the 435 seats (93.3%) in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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New York court adopts new congressional, state senate maps

New York enacted new congressional and state senate districts on May 20, 2022, when Justice Patrick McAllister ordered the adoption of maps drawn by redistricting special master Jonathan Cervas. New York was apportioned 26 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2020 census, one fewer than it received after the 2010 census. These maps will take effect for New York’s 2022 congressional and state legislative elections.

McAllister overturned New York’s state senate and congressional maps on March 31, 2022. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) signed the initial maps into law on February 3, 2022.

McAllister wrote in his May 20 order, “​​the court believes the maps remain almost perfectly neutral, meaning the maps do not favor or disfavor any political party.” 

Susan Lerner, the executive director of Common Cause New York, said, “It’s clear he listened to the extensive comments sent to the court, including ours and those of the Unity Maps, as the maps now reflect a deeper understanding of minority and other communities’ interests. Ultimately, as he indicates, he valued compactness above all else.”

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) criticized the congressional map, saying, “the court of appeals was wrong in the decision that they made both on the substance and in terms of turning over redistricting to an out of town, unelected special master and a judicial overseer in Steuben County, who was a Republican.” Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) also criticized the map, saying “by splitting [Black] communities, the map further alienates them and perpetuates the opportunity for further historical neglect by the electoral system. […] Their voting power is directly tied to their lives and they deserve a fair chance at electing representatives that take their unique needs into full consideration.”

As of May 20, 2022, 41 states have adopted congressional district maps. One state’s maps have been overturned by court action and two states have not yet adopted congressional redistricting plans after the 2020 census. Six states were apportioned one U.S. House district, so no congressional redistricting is required. As of May 20, 2012, 42 states had enacted congressional redistricting plans after the 2010 census.

Forty-seven states have adopted legislative district maps for both chambers. A court in one state has overturned previously enacted maps, a court in one state has overturned a map for one chamber, and one state has not yet adopted legislative redistricting plans after the 2020 census. As of May 20, 2012, 46 states had enacted congressional redistricting plans.

Nationwide, legislative redistricting has been completed for 1,870 of 1,973 state Senate seats (94.8%) and 5,214 of 5,413 state House seats (96.3%). Congressional redistricting has been completed for 398 of the 435 seats (91.5%) in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Kansas enacts legislative district boundaries after state supreme court approves them

Kansas enacted new legislative district boundaries on May 18 when the Kansas Supreme Court unanimously upheld the maps that Gov. Laura Kelly (D) signed into law on April 15. As specified in the state constitution, the state supreme court had to approve or reject the new boundaries within 10 days of Attorney General Derek Schmidt (R) filing them with the court. The maps will take effect for Kansas’ 2022 state legislative elections.

Both chambers of the legislature passed the redistricting legislation on March 30 after a joint House-Senate conference committee had developed it. The Kansas House of Representatives approved the legislative boundaries 83-40 and the state Senate approved them 29-11.

After Kelly signed the maps, Andrew Bahl and Rafael Garcia of the Topeka Capital-Journal wrote, “The state Senate and House maps were mildly contested in the Legislature, particularly in the Senate where the map will create a fourth, Democrat-leaning district in Topeka and Lawrence.”

As of May 19, 46 states have adopted legislative district maps for both chambers. The Ohio Supreme Court has overturned that state’s previously enacted maps, courts in two states have overturned a map for one chamber, and Montana has not yet adopted legislative redistricting plans after the 2020 census. As of May 19, 2012, 46 states had enacted legislative redistricting plans after the 2010 census.

Nationwide, legislative redistricting has been completed for 1,807 of 1,973 state Senate seats (91.6%) and 5,214 of 5,413 state House seats (96.3%).

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