An outline of court cases and legislative action in the states through 2015, compiled by the LWVUS Redistricting Task Force.
Redistricting in State Courts and Legislatures as of December 2015
As compiled by Linnea Hirst, LWVUS Redistricting Task Force
Decided: Alabama: (SCOTUS ruling) legislatures should not set arbitrary minority population goals for districts, but instead see what it would take to preserve a minority’s ability to elect a candidate of its choice. (WA Post 3-20-16)
Decided: Arizona: two cases: SCOTUSblogs
Upheld AZ redistricting plan because “population deviations predominantly reflected efforts to achieve compliance with the Voting Rights Act, not to secure political advantage for the Democratic Party
Upheld: Constitution permits AZ use of independent commission, case brought by AZ legislators against AZ independent redistricting commission.
In Court: Colorado: April 27, 2016, state court accepted suit on Initiative 133, proposed redistricting commission amendment. Objection to parts said to be contrary to CO constitution. www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/Initiatives/...2016/133Rehearing.pdf
Decided: Florida: Redistricting map okayed by state lawmakers was gerrymandered. New map approved by FL Supreme Court.
On prison gerrymandering: a federal judge ruled that unconstitutional if Jefferson County FL.
Unknown: Maryland: SCOTUS required 3-judge hearing for redistricting cases, not just one. Remanded back to state courts. I found nothing further.
Decided: North Carolina: SCOTUSblog, Feb 20, 2016: SCOTUS left intact lower court decision forcing NC legislature to draw new congressional district lines in two of its districts. This was after NC legislators moved the May primary date up to March, argued to have primary under 2011 district lines even if challenge to those lines was successful. That primary is now set for June 7th.
Not Decided: Dailyjournal.net April 15, 2016. Federal trial over 30 NC legislative district boundaries now ended, ruling not yet found.
Decided: Texas: A state or locality may draw its legislative districts based on total population. (SCOTUS ruling, 4-4-16)
Decided: Virginia: (jurist.org 3-22-16) Federal court ruled for redrawing congressional redistricting in several districts, and those boundaries to be used in Nov 2016 election. Appealed to SCOTUS, heard 3-21-16, not yet ruled.
Question supposedly on whether racial gerrymandering, but based on Court questions, may be as much about what it means to protect incumbents—do they have legal claim of some level? Lower court held it didn’t find that ‘race rather than politics’ predominates in that district.
In Court: Wisconsin: July 2015, suit in federal court over Assembly districts created following 2010 census.
April 7, 2016: 3-judge panel refused to end that lawsuit. Trial set for May 24-27. (per wuwm.com: “State Republicans drew the boundaries in 2011, insisting it was the GOP's right and duty after winning control of state government…)
Unknown: Wyoming: lawsuit filed 2012 challenging state’s legislative redistricting plans. I found nothing more recent.
Florida: Legislature spent over $11 million (taxpayers’ money) before giving up and accepting the court’s redrawing of districts for 2016 election. 4 trials, 3 special sessions, 8 FL Supreme Court rulings. (The map that was accepted was drawn by League of Women Voters and Common Cause.)
Georgia: State Rep introduced 2 bills on redistricting. (pat.gardner.com)
Illinois: Coalition delivered 570,000+ signatures May 6th to get independent commission amendment on Nov. ballot.
House and Senate have introduced plans, but legislators in both chambers preparing to ignore the other’s work. This labeled “criss-cross”, allows all to say they voted for reform. (capitol fax blog 5-4-16)
Maryland: Seem to be doing ‘criss-crossing’. Governor and legislature putting forth proposals, no one allowing passage. Democrats blocking.
Nebraska: April 14, 2016. Almost without notice, their legislature passed a bill to reform redistricting process, empowering an independent commission. (instituteforcivility.org)
New Hampshire: House killed a bill to establish independent commission. Senate established an interim study of a different proposal. (Live Free Or Die Alliance: ifda.org)
Ohio: Constitutional amendment passed Nov 2015 for new bipartisan commission to begin 2021.
South Dakota: Constitutional amendment certified to create independent commission, will go on Nov. ballot. Legislature didn’t refer.
Tennessee: Passed a law in April allowing counties to opt out of using census data that count prison populations as if they were residents of the town where prison is. Minnesota and Wisconsin still require counties to use census data in that way.
Utah: Legislature studying until at least next year.
Virginia: Several bills introduced, all killed by Republicans, the majority party. (Based on court ruling—see above—they’re subject to some independent redistricting, redrawn by court.)