KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A judge in Wyandotte County has ruled Monday that new congressional maps violate the rights of Kansans.
Under the new map, the northern part of Wyandotte County would go into Congressional District 2, represented by Republican Rep. Jake LaTurner.
People in southern Wyandotte and Johnson County would still be represented by Congresswoman Sharice Davids, the only Democrat from Kansas in the U.S. House.
The lawsuits argue that Kansas lawmakers produced maps that create unconstitutional racial vote dilution. According to the ACLU, the map’s new boundaries, rammed through the legislature, drowns out the voices of voters in Wyandotte County and in Lawrence.
Specifically, the map removes the northern part of Kansas City from the 3rd District seat and put it in the neighboring 2nd District, which includes Topeka, but also rural communities across eastern Kansas. It also puts a more liberal Lawrence in western Kansas, which is historically more concretive.
“We are thankful that Judge Klapper saw this map for what it was – a deliberate attempt to silence the political voices of Democratic and minority Kansans,” Sharon Brett, the ACLU of Kansas’ legal director, said. “Although we know this case is not over yet, we look forward to settling this issue and securing the rights of our clients in the Kansas Supreme Court.”
Meanwhile, Kansas Senate President Ty Masterson issued the following statement Monday:
“It is not a surprise that a left-wing judge would side with left-wing special interest groups over the people of Kansas, whose elected representatives enacted a fair map with a super majority. The ruling simply means we are on to the next step, which is an appeal by the Attorney General.”
After the Wyandotte County Judge’s ruling Monday morning, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt filed a notice of appeal over the judge’s ruling on the congressional map. He has not formally filed an appeal on this case yet.
Schmidt did, however, request that the Kansas Supreme Court review the validity of the newly approved maps for the Kansas state House and Senate districts.
“The new legislative district boundaries appear to satisfy all legal requirements previously established by state constitutional, statutory or common law,” Schmidt said. “Today, I am asking the Kansas Supreme Court to approve the new district boundaries as quickly as possible so candidate filing for this year’s legislative elections can proceed without unnecessary disruption or delay.”
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