Nov 23, 2011- W.Va. Supreme Court Shoots Down Redistricting Lawsuits

By: Michael Hyland
By: Michael Hyland

The West Virginia Supreme Court has denied requests to throw out the redistricting maps created by the Legislature this summer.

The West Virginia Supreme Court will not order changes to the Legislature's redrawn electoral maps, according to a ruling released today.

Attorney Thornton Cooper, local leaders in Putnam and Mason counties as well as other concerned citizens made their arguments to the court last week.

During the hearing some justices indicated they had concerns about the court stepping into a process that's under the Legislature's control, regardless of the justices' opinions about the results of the process.

Lawmakers held two special sessions in August to redraw the maps, which is required every 10 years to account for population changes. The House had to redraw its map after technical errors were discovered.


Comment from House Speak Rick Thompson (D-Wayne):

“I would like to thank the members of the Court for full consideration of the House of Delegates redistricting cases and a quick decision that I am pleased upholds the constitutionality of the redistricting process.”

Comment from House Majority Leader Brent Boggs (D-Braxton):

I am very pleased that the hard work of the Redistricting Committee members, of all House members, was validated by the Court’s ruling. Operating under the legal and constitutional parameters set before us, House members reached out to the people in their communities, sought feedback and did their level best to ensure that districts were drawn to serve constituents in their regions. This Court’s ruling underscores what we have said all along: We followed the law and the result was a constitutionally sound redistricting plan.”

Comment from Secretary of State Natalie Tennant (D):

“I am happy that the Supreme Court issued a ruling so quickly. We had asked for a decision by December 1, because election officials are facing some very pressing deadlines. This decision removes any uncertainty election officials may have had regarding redistricting. County clerks will have to notify voters of any changes that affect them, and by law that must be done in a matter of weeks.

“This case clearly illustrates how our three branches of government work: The legislative branch crafts and passes the laws, the executive branch puts those laws into place, and if a citizen wants to challenge any law they can petition the judicial branch.”


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