FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 4, 2022
CONTACT: Mark McCormick, Director of Strategic Communications, 913-490-4113, [email protected]
OVERLAND PARK, KS – The Kansas Supreme Court Friday morning denied Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s petition to dismiss redistricting lawsuits claiming legislative maps constituted racial and partisan gerrymandering.
Those lawsuits may proceed at the District Court level.
“We’re obviously happy with this ruling,” said ACLU of Kansas Executive Director Micah Kubic. “Still, there’s a lot of work yet ahead of us in defending democracy and protecting the rights of Kansans, especially the voters of Wyandotte County, Johnson County, and Lawrence. “
In its decision, the Supreme Court held that this case should be decided by the trial court first, and that Plaintiffs are allowed to develop their claim that the Ad Astra 2 congressional map is a partisan and racial gerrymander.
“We are eager to get the case moving in Wyandotte County District Court so that we can show just how blatant of a partisan and racial gerrymander this map is, and how it tramples on the state constitutional rights of our clients,” said Sharon Brett, ACLU of Kansas Legal Director. “We look forward to putting on our evidence and demonstrating our case.”
Although the Kansas Supreme Court may eventually hear and decide these claims, the Court ruled that the proper avenue to do so is through an appeal of the district court’s decision, encouraging the parties to move quickly in the lower court.
The Plaintiffs in Alonzo et al. v. Schwab asked Wyandotte County District Court Judge Bill Klapper to do so in their original motion to expedite.
Late last month, the ACLU of Kansas and the Campaign Legal Center along with pro bono assistance from Arnold & Porter Kay Scholer LLP, filed suit in Wyandotte County District Court seeking to block the recently enacted congressional redistricting map.
The suit, Alonzo et al. v. Schwab, against Kansas Sec. of State Scott Schwab and Wyandotte County Election Commissioner Abbott, was filed on behalf of 10 plaintiffs who live in Johnson or Wyandotte counties and an additional plaintiff who lives in Lawrence.
The suit argued that the new map cracks the most racially diverse county in Kansas in half in a brazen attempt to dilute the voices of minority voters. The lawsuit argued that the congressional map constituted partisan and racial gerrymandering, violating the Equal Rights and Political Power Clauses, Free Speech and Free Assembly Clauses, and the Right to Suffrage provisions of the Kansas Constitution.
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About the ACLU of Kansas: The ACLU of Kansas is the statewide affiliate of the national American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU of Kansas is dedicated to preserving and advancing the civil rights and legal freedoms guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. For more information, visit our website at www.aclukansas.org.