Monday, January 09, 2012

4 Districts Unconstitutional as Alaska Redistricting Plan Goes To Court

The court challenges to the Alaska Redistricting Board's Proclamation have dwindled from three to one.  This begins to be heard in open court on Monday (today) January 9.  The Board's website gives this information:
What:  In re: 2011 Redistricting Cases v. Alaska Redistricting Board 
When:  Monday, January 9, 2012
Where:  Rabinowitz Courthouse, Courtroom 403, 101 Lacey Street, Fairbanks  
Conference Number:  866-231-8327 (Limited to the first 150 participants) 
Conference Code:  9074529311#

The Court's schedule shows this begins at 8:30am

The board also put up a list last week of 92 litigation documents that had been filed prior to the court date.  Since then they've added another 79 documents AND they've added descriptive titles to the files which makes it MUCH easier to find things.  (Previously there was an index file of the first 92 at the bottom of the list which I didn't find until after poking around and randomly opening numbered files.)

I confess that I have not read all the files.  I focused on files that began with the word "Order" because these turned out to be decisions the judge had made.  They tend to explain the issue and summarize the plaintiff's (Riley and Dearborn) and the defendant's (The Alaska Redistricting Board) arguments and the judge's reasoning why he found for one side or the other. 

I don't know whether I found the most critical points but they seem important:

Fairbanks House Districts - particularly 1, 2, and 38
1.  Four House Districts were found to not meet the requirements of the Alaska constitution - House Districts 1, 2, 37, and 38.

2.  The Board argued they could not meet the federal Voting Rights Act requirements without stretching the Alaska Constitutional requirements.

3.  The federal law trumps the Alaska Constitution, therefore

4.  In court, it will be up to the defendants (the Board) to prove that the only way to meet the Voting Rights Act requirements was by creating  districts which did not meet the constitutional standards.

I will try to get more on this up soon.  Meanwhile you can look at the orders themselves.

Order on Compactness Districts 1, 2, and 37.

Order on  Contiguity of District 37.

Lack of socioeconomic integration of District 38 not disputed  

House District 37 (green)

House District 38 - click to enlarge

Note:  The letters (i.e. the S after 38) is the Senate district the House District is in.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for writing on this topic, Steve. As we know, the ADN has decided not to include reports on redistricting on its pages (mostly). Without your reports, I'd have a hard time knowing what's up with this very partisan activity.


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