SCOTUS Stays Out of Redistricting BattleBy Jeffrey Hess | Published 20 May 2013 07:10pm |
Mississippi's two year fight over redistricting has come to an end. The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected calls for a new set of legislative elections.
The ruling means that state 174 state senators and representatives will hold onto their seats until the regularly scheduled 2015 legislative election.
The Mississippi NAACP had challenged the 2011 election because it did not use new districts based on the most recent census.
Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann defended the election, saying there was no need to make lawmakers run again.
"I felt it was the right legal provision and the right statutory provision. Sometimes you just have to follow the rule book. When you get off and try to redistrict the legislature for your own personal political gain, the Supreme Court says you can't do that," Hosemann said.
The NAACP had asked for that election to be set aside and special elections to be held under a court-ordered plan because they believe the old maps diluted African-American voting strength.
The legislature re-drew the districts in the 2012 legislative session, after the election the previous fall.
NAACP attorney Carroll Rhodes says the group could still file another challenge against the newly re-drawn districts.
"Because there are concentrations of black voters in a couple of parts of Mississippi where districts could have been drawn but were not. Districts that could have given black voters a chance to elect candidates of their choice. That was not done in a couple of areas of the state," Rhodes said.
The new districts have been checked by the Justice Department and ruled to be ok under the1965 voting rights act.
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