Lawyer Normal Derek Schmidt’s place of work Friday formally asked the Kansas Supreme Court acquire up a pair of troubles to recently enacted, Republican-authored Congressional maps, just after a pair of lawsuits had been filed towards the districts earlier this week.
As section of the go, the lawyer general is inquiring the justices to dismiss the instances, arguing they are not a subject for the point out court method and insisting the troubles in the fits are without the need of merit.
The dueling lawsuits, filed Monday in Wyandotte County District Court docket, argued the maps run afoul of the Kansas Structure and the Kansas Legislature’s very own redistricting tips, precisely in how they divide the Kansas Town, Kan. metro region.
Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed the maps but the legislature properly overrode her selection previously this thirty day period.
The lawsuits are the 1st time congressional maps have been challenged in the state, rather than federal, court docket system, though legislative districts have been litigated at a condition level.
But in the submitting Friday, Solicitor Common Brent Laue argued the move was unusual for a reason, declaring in the submitting that the issues “are not valid as a make a difference of Kansas law” and that state courts have no role in the congressional redistricting procedure.
“There is a very good motive these lawsuits uncover no assist in precedent: Neither the federal nor the Kansas Constitution authorizes state courts to go on the validity of federal congressional maps, and certainly not underneath the legal theories the Plaintiffs in the recently filed scenarios advance,” Laue claimed.
Even if the supreme court docket elected to just take up the circumstance, Laue said federal requirements should really be applied to the lawsuit’s statements of racial gerrymandering.
The Kansas Constitution helps make no distinct point out of congressional redistricting.
But the lawsuits argue the map violates the Equal Legal rights and Political Electricity clauses of the Kansas Constitution, as perfectly as residents’ rights to independence of speech, freedom of assembly and suffrage.
In a assertion, Sharon Brett, authorized director for the ACLU of Kansas, reported the attorney general’s arguments “would give this legislature pretty much unchecked electrical power to violate the constitutional rights of Kansans for pure partisan achieve.”
“The Legal professional General’s argument that Kansas courts are devoid of authority to interpret their personal point out constitution is without the need of merit,” Brett claimed. “The Kansas Supreme Courtroom can — and in truth should really — figure out no matter if laws passed by the Kansas legislature violates Kansans state constitutional rights.”
Partisan gerrymandering statements in federal court have turn out to be all but difficult, primary opponents of the map to think their greatest likelihood is in the condition courtroom process. Other point out higher courts, most notably in North Carolina, have struck down maps they deem to be unconstitutional.
Schmidt’s office environment is pushing the Kansas Supreme Court docket to take up the make any difference right and bypass the district court, arguing there is a “persuasive have to have for an expeditious and authoritative ruling on the important lawful troubles introduced.”
A movement to expedite the circumstances is currently set to be thought of in district courtroom next month.
Andrew Bahl is a senior statehouse reporter for the Topeka Capital-Journal. He can be arrived at at [email protected] or by cellular phone at 443-979-6100.