Attorney Typical Derek Schmidt’s place of work Friday formally questioned the Kansas Supreme Court docket just take up a pair of problems to newly enacted, Republican-authored Congressional maps, just after a pair of lawsuits ended up filed in opposition to the districts earlier this week.
As component of the shift, the legal professional general is asking the justices to dismiss the situations, arguing they are not a make any difference for the state court docket program and insisting the problems in the satisfies are with no advantage.
The dueling lawsuits, submitted Monday in Wyandotte County District Court, argued the maps run afoul of the Kansas Structure and the Kansas Legislature’s very own redistricting rules, especially in how they divide the Kansas Town, Kan. metro space.
Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed the maps but the legislature correctly overrode her selection previously this month.
The lawsuits are the initially time congressional maps have been challenged in the condition, somewhat than federal, courtroom system, though legislative districts have been litigated at a point out degree.
But in the submitting Friday, Solicitor Basic Brent Laue argued the shift was unconventional for a motive, indicating in the submitting that the issues “are not legitimate as a issue of Kansas law” and that condition courts have no position in the congressional redistricting method.
“There is a very good reason these lawsuits find no assistance in precedent: Neither the federal nor the Kansas Structure authorizes state courts to pass on the validity of federal congressional maps, and certainly not beneath the legal theories the Plaintiffs in the a short while ago filed scenarios progress,” Laue claimed.
Even if the supreme courtroom elected to choose up the situation, Laue said federal criteria must be applied to the lawsuit’s statements of racial gerrymandering.
The Kansas Constitution helps make no particular mention of congressional redistricting.
But the lawsuits argue the map violates the Equivalent Rights and Political Energy clauses of the Kansas Constitution, as effectively as residents’ legal rights to flexibility of speech, liberty of assembly and suffrage.
In a statement, Sharon Brett, lawful director for the ACLU of Kansas, claimed the attorney general’s arguments “would give this legislature nearly unchecked ability to violate the constitutional legal rights of Kansans for pure partisan attain.”
“The Legal professional General’s argument that Kansas courts are devoid of authority to interpret their have state structure is without having advantage,” Brett claimed. “The Kansas Supreme Court docket can — and without a doubt really should — determine whether laws passed by the Kansas legislature violates Kansans point out constitutional rights.”
Partisan gerrymandering statements in federal courtroom have turn out to be all but difficult, major opponents of the map to think their ideal opportunity is in the point out court docket program. Other condition large courts, most notably in North Carolina, have struck down maps they deem to be unconstitutional.
Schmidt’s office is pushing the Kansas Supreme Courtroom to get up the matter instantly and bypass the district courtroom, arguing there is a “persuasive need for an expeditious and authoritative ruling on the essential legal concerns presented.”
A motion to expedite the scenarios is currently set to be deemed in district court future thirty day period.
Andrew Bahl is a senior statehouse reporter for the Topeka Cash-Journal. He can be reached at [email protected] or by phone at 443-979-6100.