AG Appeals Redistricting Order to the Supreme Court

    Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court a federal court order that Maryland redraw its congressional districts.

    That order, by a three-judge panel, demands that state leaders fix unconstitutional flaws in the map in time for the 2020 elections.

    The decision was announced on Nov. 7, the day after the 2018 campaign. It was hailed by the attorney for the plaintiffs – seven 6th District Republicans who brought suit against the state in 2013. They alleged that their First Amendment rights of association were violated when Democrats — including then-Gov. Martin J. O’Malley Jr. and the legislature — redrew the state’s lines in 2011 to make it more likely that they would be able to defeat long-serving Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett (R).

    In addition to filing an appeal to have the federal court’s ruling heard by the Supreme Court in an expedited manner, the attorney general requested a stay of the order to redraw the state’s map, pending any action the justices may take.

    “A stay of this matter pending the defendants’ appeal to the Supreme Court is warranted to avoid potentially contradictory results or needless expenditure of public resources,” the document states, adding, “The Supreme Court is … poised to address the issue of partisan gerrymandering once again this term.”

    “Any further guidance from the Supreme Court will be important to ensure that, even if this Court’s order is affirmed, state lawmakers do not redraw Maryland’s electoral map for 2020 using a standard that is not the one ultimately adopted by the Supreme Court,” Frosh’s filing adds. “Moreover, this Court’s order may be reversed, either because the Supreme Court finds partisan gerrymandering to be nonjusticiable or because the Supreme Court approves a different test for partisan gerrymandering claims, which Maryland’s map may or may not satisfy.”

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    Bruce DePuyt
    Bruce DePuyt spent nearly three decades on local television, including 14 years as executive producer and host of News Talk on NewsChannel 8 in the Washington, D.C., area. He has served as reporter, anchor and producer/host of 21 This Week in Montgomery County and as reporter/anchor at NBC affiliate WVIR-TV in Charlottesville, VA. He's a regular contributor to WTOP (103.5 FM) and frequently moderates community and political events.