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A special, three-judge panel will consider a constitutional challenge to Maryland’s gerrymandered congressional district map on Tuesday, July 12. Judicial Watch Attorney Robert Popper will appear before the panel on behalf of voters from each of Maryland’s eight congressional districts.
The plaintiffs challenging Maryland’s congressional district plan include Maryland Delegates Neil C. Parrott and Matt Morgan, and former Maryland legislator and gubernatorial candidate Ambassador Ellen Sauerbrey.
Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit on June 24, 2015, in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland against Maryland’s state administrator of elections and the chair of the state board of elections (Parrott, et al., v. Lamone, et al. (No. 1:15-cv-01849)).
The lawsuit argues that the Maryland maps were drawn in a way that violates Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, which requires that the “House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States …” The suit asks the court, among other relief, to declare the Maryland maps unlawful and require Maryland to redraw the maps.
In December 2015, a unanimous 9-0 U.S. Supreme Court decision overruled the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and affirmed the Three-Judge Court Act, a law requiring three federal judges to be empaneled to try federal lawsuits concerning redistricting, voting rights, and other key constitutional issues (Shapiro et al. v. McManus, Chairman, Maryland State Board of Elections, et al. (No. 14-990)).
Judicial Watch filed a friend-of-the-court brief in August 2015 supporting the plaintiffs who ultimately prevailed in that case. The special three-judge panel hearing Judicial Watch’s challenge next week was convened as a result of the Supreme Court decision.
Judicial Watch first entered the Maryland redistricting battle on August 10, 2012, when it represented MDPetitions.com and Delegate Neil Parrott in its successful lawsuit to block a move by the state’s Democrat party to have an Election Day voter referendum on the state’s controversial gerrymandering plan removed from the ballot.
Three weeks later, Judicial Watch again represented Delegate Parrott in a challenge the misleading language of the wording of the ballot question.
Robert Popper is director of Judicial Watch’s Election Integrity Project. Popper was formerly deputy chief of the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department.
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