Friday, June 26, 2015

Lawsuit Challenges District Maps

A lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch seeking to have Maryland’s congressional district maps redrawn says Maryland’s congressional district map is the most distorted and confused in the country.
The government watchdog group said it filed the voter lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Maryland’s districts, arguing that their design in 2011 pushed 27 percent of the state’s voters into new districts.
Plaintiffs in the new lawsuit include Maryland Delegates Neil C. Parrott and Matt Morgan, and former Maryland legislator and gubernatorial candidate Ambassador Ellen Sauerbrey.
The lawsuit Parrott, et al, v. Lamone, et al says the congressional districting plan signed into law by then-Gov. Martin O’Malley in October 2011 greatly reconfigured Maryland’s congressional districts. In total, 27 percent of all Marylanders were placed in a different congressional district.
The lawsuit cites the 6th Congressional District in western Maryland as an example of the intent to manipulate districts to help political candidates. The redistricting process added part of Democrat-heavy Montgomery County to what had been a Republican stronghold in western Maryland, WTOP reports, to target 10-term Republican Roscoe Bartlett. He lost the 2012 election to Democrat John Delaney.
Maryland’s gerrymander produces “split counties, county fragments, and split precincts,” resulting in the arbitrary political fragmentation of the state, the group says, which harms Republicans, Democrats, and independent voters.
Critics of the district maps claim the districts were designed to enhance the power of select incumbents while minimizing the voting power of minorities, rural voters and Republicans.

“In Maryland, politicians pick their voters, which is unconstitutional,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Maryland’s gerrymandered congressional district map is a national embarrassment and harms both Democrat and Republican voters. The courts should require Maryland to go back and draw district maps that respect Maryland voters and don’t make a mockery of commonsense and the rule of law.”

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