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A House Committee Joins the NAACP Redistricting Lawsuit

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 21 Mar 2011 10:30am | comments
Jackson Attorney Rob McDuff

A Mississippi House committee is joining the NAACP's redistricting lawsuit. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that the committee voted along party lines to jump into the legal wrangling.

The committee appointed Rob McDuff, an attorney from Jackson, to argue on its behalf if the NAACP lawsuit actually makes it to court.

The Civil rights group says that there should not be an election under current districts because they are too unbalanced due to population shifts....the redistricting process every ten years is intended to correct that.

Committee chairman Tommy Reynolds of Charleston says the Senate has forced the committee's hand by rejecting the House redistricting map.

"We passed, on two occasions, our plan. We passed the Senate plan. So we passed the plans; our plan on two occasions and we passed the Senate plan. What more can we do?"

NAACP president Derrick Johnson says he welcomes the committee to the lawsuit but would prefer that law makers settle the issue themselves.

"There is no reason for this case to be in court but for partisan politics that has not, up to this point, played a role in the redistricting process. And today we stand here on the verge of going to Federal Court to resolve issues that legislators have been elected to resolve," Johnson said.

The vote fell along party lines with Democrats voting to join the suit and Republicans voting against it.

Representative Mark Baker a Republican from Brandon says joining the lawsuit is a partisan ploy that does not help the legislature draw maps.

"The people have sent us here to do something specific which is try to obtain a plan. Here we are in session and instead of having conferees trying to discuss something, instead we are joining in a

The Senate bucked tradition when it rejected the House redistricting plan last week.

House Speaker Billy McCoy says he won't appoint negotiators to work on a final version of the map. 

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Jackson Attorney Rob McDuff


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