Better, But Still Not Good

The new Maryland congressional district gerrymander is better than the previous map, but it still isn’t very good.I live in Westminster, only about 13 miles from the Mason-Dixon line border with Pennsylvania. The old map had me living in District 8 which extended from the DC border. The new map makes District 8 a compact blob in the DC suburbs. I’m now in District 2, which extends into the Baltimore suburbs. It’s a predominantly Democrat district, but not an impossible win for the right Republican. District 6 is now competitive. District 1 remains a Republican stronghold. The rest are Democrat safe seats.

At least I’ll no longer be stuck with Jamie Raskin as my congresscritter.

Maryland’s Gerrymander

The latest congressional redistricting map to come out of the Maryland legislature has been placed on hold by a state court. A group of voters has sued alleging the map which essentially eliminates the possibility of a Republican being elected violates various provisions of the state constitution. Ballotpedia reports that today

former Maryland Court of Appeals Judge Lynne Battaglia, acting on senior status, ruled that the state’s Congressional map was a partisan gerrymander and ordered the General Assembly to draft a new map. The Maryland Court of Appeals earlier postponed the state’s primary election from June 28 to July 19 in a March 15 order. The court also extended the filing deadline for all candidates from March 22 to April 15. The court said it had “received timely-filed petitions challenging the validity of the 2022 legislative districting plan enacted by the General Assembly”

Things are proceeding better than I have foreseen.

UPDATE—FWIW, Judge Battaglia is retired from the Maryland Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court. She was appointed by Gov. Glendening (D). Before serving on that court, she was the U. S. Attorney for Maryland appointed by Bill Clinton and Chief of Staff for Sen. Barbara Mikulski.

Meanwhile, at the Supreme Court …

… there will be a oral argument in a case in which I have more than a passing interest. After the 2010 census, Maryland’s 6th Congressional District was gerrymandered to eliminate any chance of a Republican being elected. All of Carroll County had been in the old 6th District along with all the other Western Maryland counties, Frederick, Washington, Allegany and Garret. Part of the rural west of Montgomery Count was also in the district in order to get the population up to match the other districts in the state. Bits of Carroll County are now in two districts (1 and 8). I’m now in District 8 which extends down to the DC suburbs. I have neighbors just west of me who are in District 1 which stretches across the top of the state and onto the Eastern Shore all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.

Last year, a three judge panel of the U. S. District Court found the gerrymander unconstitutional under the First Amendment. The State has appealed to the Supreme Court (Lamone v. Benisek). Amy Howe has an excellent synopsis of the case thus far over at ScotusBlog.

UPDATE—Corrected a typo.