U.S. Supreme Court Won’t Wade Into Redistricting FightBy Sandra Knispel | Published 01 Nov 2011 11:13am |
Mississippi lawmakers will run in their current districts at next Tuesday’s election. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed on Monday a lower court ruling that leaves it up to the Magnolia state to redistrict itself next year. MPB’s Sandra Knispel reports.
In essence, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday that it won’t get involved in Mississippi’s redistricting fight. Normally, the state’s 122 house districts and 52 senate districts are updated after every census to reflect population changes.
“This ruling basically just confirms that the election will take place with the current districts already in place,” says Jonathan Winburn, an assistant political science professor at the University of Mississippi.
The redistricting fight was a strong partisan battle this year that ultimately yielded no agreement on either plan put forward by the Mississippi House and the Senate. Winburn says redrawing electoral maps can change election outcomes.
“Across the board, generally speaking it’s normally not as big of a deal or as effective gerrymandering as people argue that it is but it can be. And that’s why it matters. Not that it always does make a difference but it can make a difference,” Winburn says.
In its ruling, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal from the Mississippi chapter of the NAACP, which had sued because the state legislature did not pass a redistricting plan this year. Carroll Rhodes is the attorney for the state’s NAACP.
“The Supreme Court is apparently going to let this litigation drag on. Rather than correct the record now we can do it again whenever the case is finally over with. We were just trying to get it over as quickly and painlessly as possible," Rhodes says.
Adjusting electoral districts usually happens after a new census in order to uphold the constitutional principle of “one person, one vote.” That has now been postponed until 2012.
Sandra Knispel, MPB News, Oxford.
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