A Federal Judge Intervenes, Dealing A Blow To Democrats By Declaring The United States House Map To Be An Illegal Gerrymander

Photo Source: (The Washington Post)

A Maryland state court has found that a congressional map prepared by Democrats is an unconstitutional political gerrymander, and has ordered the state legislature to redraw the borders before the 2022 elections.

According to Politico, the districts were created by the Democrat-controlled legislature and overrode GOP Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto.

Following the 2020 Census, the new map is expected to result in an 8-0 Democratic sweep of the state. Seven of the eight districts are Democratic strongholds, but the state’s eastern shore has a lone Republican seat, which is now represented by Rep. Andy Harris.

President Joe Biden won the newly formed version by less than 1% in 2020, after the district was changed from strong Republicans to make it significantly more competitive.

In her opinion, Judge Lynne Battaglia, a senior judge on the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, stated, “The limitation of the undue extension of power by any branch of government must be exercised to ensure that the will of the people is heard, no matter under which political placard those governing reside.” “The Congressional Plan for 2021 is unlawful and violates the will of the people.”

According to Politico, Her decision might be challenged in the Maryland Court of Appeals, which is the state’s highest court.

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Meanwhile, Battaglia ordered the state legislature to redraw the maps by March 30, and she set an April 1 hearing to discuss the revised boundaries.

Battaglia was a 15-year member of the state’s highest court before retiring in 2016. Governor Parris Glendening, a Democrat at the time, nominated her for the position.

The verdict came in a combined decision based on two lawsuits, one of which was a challenge to the maps brought by Fair Maps Maryland, an anti-gerrymandering group founded by a former Hogan aide.

“Not only did the court decide in our plaintiffs’ favor, but she also reaffirmed that there is Maryland state law that applies to political gerrymandering, which the Attorney General’s office fiercely argued against,” the organization stated in an unsigned statement posted shortly after Battaglia’s decision.

“This is huge news in and of itself, but when paired with a favorable verdict, it’s a political earthquake.” In an order issued earlier this month as part of a dispute contesting the state’s altered legislative districts, the Maryland Court of Appeals delayed the state’s primary elections from late June to mid-July.

Republicans have lost a succession of lawsuits contesting redrawn congressional districts that they feel are gerrymandered, according to a study released last month.

The outcome might cost the party House seats. Democratic-led states have successfully redrawn congressional districts to exclude remaining GOP strongholds.

While Republican-led states have faced successful legal challenges to their maps, all of which could cost the party seats in Congress later this year, when they were expected to do well in the midterm elections as President Joe Biden’s approval rating continues to plummet.

Democrats have done well in midterm elections, and Republicans were anticipated to do so as well, but state Democrats appear to be increasingly utilizing redistricting to not just consolidate blue seats but also to eke out additional seats by redrawing districts traditionally held by Republicans.

Republicans lost legal challenges to redrawn districts in North Carolina and New Jersey, although a group of Republican legislators in New York filed a lawsuit challenging a proposal signed into law by Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul. Republican politicians also were contemplating taking legal action over the revised election map in Pennsylvania.

“From the outset, Democrats made clear their intentions of using an activist court to gain political advantage notwithstanding the Republican-led legislature’s transparent, fair, constitutional process,” the North Carolina GOP said in a statement after the plan was confirmed by the state Supreme Court.

“The NCGOP is looking for another fair, amendment process in which the legislature redraws these lines, and we really hope that the constitutional order is just not upended once more by Democrats dictating policy from the bench.”

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