KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The fight over Kansas’ newly redrawn congressional map could head to our nation’s capital.
The ACLU of Kansas is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to change that map, after the Kansas Supreme Court voted to uphold it.
The map split Kansas’ most diverse county, Wyandotte, in half between two congressional districts. Many believe the GOP-controlled legislature did that to gerrymander Democratic Rep. Sharice Davids out of office, but she ultimately won re-election in November.
The petition (Alonzo v. Schwab) filed by the ACLU of Kansas ultimately comes down to race. The nonprofit organization argues that the Kansas Supreme Court did not take racial bias into account when making its decision.
The plaintiffs, which include the ACLU of Kanas, the Campaign Legal Center, and Seattle-based Elias Law Group, filed a petition on November 23 asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case. The defendant is Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab, who’s being represented by the State Attorney General’s Office.
The petition argues that Kansas’ new congressional map “allows intentional discrimination against minorities,” which ultimately violates the 14th Amendment granting citizens equal civil and legal rights.
Lou Mulligan is a law professor at the University of Kansas. He doesn’t represent either party but said it’s unlikely the Supreme Court will take it on. “The Supreme Court of the United States will receive more than 8,000 petitions for writ of certiorari in any given year, and it will hear between 70 to 80.”
However, he said the case might have a better chance than the other 8,000 because of Supreme Court rule #10, “which says that the court’s more likely to hear case on writ of certiorari when there’s a split of authority.”
The split Mulligan is referring to is among federal courts in different parts of the country in redistricting challenges and the role of the equal protection clause.
FOX4 asked Mulligan what would happen if the Supreme Court accepted the case and sides with the plaintiffs.
“It would strike the current congressional districts as unconstitutional and require a redrawing of those maps by the legislature in a manner that did not have intentional discrimination on the basis of race,” he said.
The ACLU of Kansas did not respond to FOX4’s request for an interview.
As for the State Attorney General’s Office, they had until December 29 to respond to the petition. But in a statement to FOX 4, they said: “The Office of the Attorney General filed a waiver this week with the U.S. Supreme Court giving notice that it would not file a response to the ACLU’s request for review of the redistricting case.”
The Kansas Supreme Court correctly upheld the Legislature’s redistricting maps, and we are confident the U.S. Supreme Court will decline this last-ditch effort by the plaintiffs to relitigate this case in federal court.”
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