Maryland appeals gerrymandering case to the Supreme Court

Maryland appeals gerrymandering case to the Supreme Court

By Geoff West   
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, a Democrat, was re-elected to his second term last week. (Edward Kimmel/ Wikimedia Commons)

WASHINGTON — Maryland’s attorney general on Thursday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review a lower court’s ruling that ordered the state to redraw its congressional map after finding it was gerrymandered to favor Democratic candidates.

The appeal filed by Attorney General Brian Frosh’s office comes after a federal court panel in Maryland last week ordered state officials to submit a new congressional map by March 7. Otherwise, the court said it would appoint a commission to redraw the boundaries in time for the 2020 election.

The current congressional map, which was used in last week’s midterm election, was approved in 2011 by Maryland lawmakers who held a Democratic majority in the state legislature. Republican voters there filed suit, claiming the boundaries of the state’s 6th congressional district was gerrymandered in violation of their First Amendment rights. The federal court panel last week agreed.

Frosh’s appeal has asked the Supreme Court to hear the case for clarity on how to draw a constitutionally acceptable congressional map.

In a separate filing, Frosh’s office asked the U.S. District Court in Maryland for a stay on the court order to redraw the map pending the Supreme Court’s review of its appeal.

Since the high court is likely to hear cases on partisan gerrymandering this term, redrawing the boundaries before the justices weigh in may be a waste of time and state resources, Frosh’s office argued in its motion.

“Any further guidance from the Supreme Court will be important to ensure that, even if this Court’s order is affirmed, state lawmakers do not redraw Maryland’s electoral map for 2020 using a standard that is not the one ultimately adopted by the Supreme Court,” they wrote. 

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