MO Supreme Court hears challenge to new congressional maps

Jan 12, 2012

The Missouri Supreme Court heard three lawsuits Thursday that seek to erase new maps drawn during last year’s redistricting processes.

Two of the three suits target the new Congressional district map passed by lawmakers. Both of those cases argue that congressional districts in the so-called “Grand Compromise Map” don’t meet the compactness requirement and were drawn to protect incumbents. 

Gerry Greiman argued for the plaintiffs in one of two lawsuits against the map.  He says like-minded people should be joined together in the same district.

 “That’s why the 5th District is so bad, because you take urban Jackson County and you join with them three largely rural counties that may have very little in common with them…on the other side of the state, Jefferson County, which has about 200-thousand people; it’s split into three different congressional districts,” Greiman said.

Solicitor General Jim Layton defended the maps, and suggested that safeguarding an incumbent’s district is not necessarily illegal.  He used southeast Missouri Congresswoman Jo Anne Emerson as an example.

“They kept Ms. Emerson’s district largely intact…she’s 115th in seniority and a member of the majority party…that is a rational basis for drawing a district in that regard,” Layton said.

The state’s High Court also heard a lawsuit against the new State Senate district map.  It’s being challenged because a 6-judge panel that drew it issued a revised version.  Plaintiffs say it’s not valid because the panel automatically dissolved after issuing its first map.  The State Supreme Court will rule on the new maps later.