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U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary Hearing on the "post - Shelby" Voting Rights Act.
U.S. House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on the Voting Rights Act Post-Shelby. 



 Weekly Redistricting Wrap-Up
 Dec 2, 2011

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 Redistricting Colorado: State Supreme Court Hears Arguments

 Photo: CBS News
The Colorado Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday in the appeal from a lower court’s decision to use a Democratic proposed congressional map for the state after lawmakers were unable to agree on a map this past Summer and Fall. There had been much controversy over a Democratic strategy to make Colorado’s congressional districts more competitive as opposed to keeping them mostly intact. Each side had 30 mins for oral arguments. The court is expected to decide the case in the next two weeks.



Colorado Supreme Court Hears Republican Argument against Redistricting Map

• Colorado Supreme Court Hears Congressional Map Appeal   
• Colorado Supreme Court Holds Oral Arguments on Congressional Redistricting Case   
 Redistricting Connecticut: Critical Deadline Passes, Speaker Resigns  

CT House Speaker Christopher Donovan resigns as Rep. Lawrence Cafero looks on.
Photo: Connecticut Mirror

The nine-member State Reapportionment Commission missed its Wednesday deadline for a congressional map although it did successfully agree on state legislative lines. It has asked the Connecticut Supreme Court for a 30 day extension for the congressional map. House Speaker Christopher Donovan, who was a member of the commission, stepped down this week after calls of self-dealing ensued. Donovan is a candidate for Congress in the 5th congressional district.  






State Legislative Districts Approved, Congressional Map Goes to Court  
 Redistricting Florida: New Maps Unveiled  

On Monday, a senate committee released a first look at Florida’s redistricting by releasing proposed congressional and state senate maps. Democrats have already criticized the map for solidifying Republican voting strength. The congressional map creates five districts with no incumbent and a new central Florida district comprised of 40% Hispanic voters.


• Florida Proposal Pleasing to GOP Eyes   
• First Redistricting Maps for Florida Create New Hispanic Seats and Retain GOP Strength  
 Redistricting Maryland: Trial Date Set for Congressional Map Challenge  

A third lawsuit has been filed against the state’s congressional map. A county commissioner claims that the districts, which slice through Frederick County in the western portion of the state- violate compactness and contiguity requirements.


Meanwhile, in what most consider the key case against the map, plaintiffs in Fletcher v. Lamone cleared the first legal hurdle last week when a federal court in Greenbelt, Md. agreed that the case should be heard by a three-judge panel. On Thursday, the panel scheduled a trial for Dec. 20th.

Judge Appoints Three-Judge Panel to Hear Md. Redistricting Lawsuit  
• Hearing Set for Maryland Redistricting Lawsuit Before 3-Judge Panel   
 Redistricting Texas: Supreme Court Enters Fray  

Justice Antonin Scalia
Photo: AP
A San Antonio court panel has chosen interim congressional and legislative maps to be used for upcoming elections in Texas but the state’s Attorney General Greg Abbott claims that the maps approved by two of the three judges on the panel- are decidedly favorable to Democrats. One of Abbott’s grievances concerns the state house map, which creates three additional minority coalition districts; something not expressly required by the Voting Rights Act according to Abbott.

On Nov. 28th Abbott appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to block the state legislative maps. Two days later, the congressional map was added to the motion. Specifically, Abbott has asked the court for a full review of the interim maps and has motioned for a stay, which would suspend the map’s effective status until the court completes its review. Justice Scalia established deadlines for parties to respond to Abbott’s filing; Thursday was the deadline for responses to the legislative map request and Monday Dec 5. is the cut-off date for responses to the congressional map filing.

The crux of Abbott’s legal argument is that the judge-panel overreached its authority in making the changes it made; changes he says were implemented without regard or deference to the maps enacted by state lawmakers and without articulating any specific violation of the law the changes were designed to remedy.

As the legal stakes grow higher, both sides in the litigation have hired big guns; renowned voting rights expert Pamela Karlan has joined as counsel for the Mexican-American Legislative Caucus and Paul Clement, former solicitor general joined Abbott’s team. Next week, all parties wait for word from the highest court.

• Justices Asked to Halt Use of Maps   
• Scalia Sets Thursday Deadline in Texas Redistricting Case   
• MALC, Abbott Load Up on Legal Talent for Supreme Redistricting Fight   
 Redistricting West Virginia: Congressional Deviations Abound  

On Nov. 4 a federal lawsuit was filed challenging West Virginia’s congressional map. The lawsuit, filed by members of the Jefferson County Commission claims that the plan’s population deviations are unconstitutionally high. The deviation between the three congressional districts totals 4, 871 people. A proposed substitute plan would have a total deviation of 2,414.

• W.Va still Faces U.S. House Challenge   
• Judicial Panel to Hear Jefferson County's Appeal of W.Va. Congressional Redistricting Plan