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Maryland's congressional district map expected to head to court

Both sides prepared for legal battle
Posted at 5:34 PM, Dec 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-09 17:34:33-05

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — As Maryland's Republican Governor prepared to officially veto the congressional map sent to him by the state legislature, he brought up the likely court cases.

"These gerrymandered maps will be challenged in both federal and state courts," Larry Hogan told journalists at a press conference on Thursday afternoon.

He said that he didn't want to wait to veto the map — so that court cases could start as soon as possible.

"Today we are calling on the Biden administration to immediately add Maryland into that [Texas] lawsuit," he added, referring to a lawsuit the US Department of Justice filed against Texas over its redistricting map.

As the House and Senate, very quickly, moved to override the veto Delegate Christopher Adams lamented the fact that Maryland's map would end up back in front of a judge.

"I am disappointed," he said in his testimony.

To understand what a judge will look for in the very likely court cases expected to follow the veto override, WMAR-2 News sat down with a Constitutional law professor from the University of Maryland.

"The redistricting process presently covers three dimensions of constitutional law," Mark Graber explains. "The first is one person, one vote."

"Second is race. In apportioning equal districts, race may not be the predominant factor unless there was a voting rights violation," says Graber. "Third, all other gerrymanders are called political questions - that is they will not be reviewed by the Supreme Court."

Opponents of the maps, however are arguing on issues of political gerrymandering and the lack of compactness of the districts.

Legislative Redistricting Map District Lines

But, the issues that Professor Graber laid out, were the federal rules.

"Chances are, if this goes to court, it will be under the Maryland rules," he says. "The Maryland constitution requires a little more geographic compactness than the federal constitution."

And this he says has been "one of the major issues in Maryland reapportionment."

An organization called Fair Maps Maryland says it has "been forced to obtain legal counsel" and is currently exploring legal action.