Judge hears arguments in Kentucky redistricting case

February 12, 2022 GMT

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky judge said he’s likely to rule “fairly quickly” on motions pending in a lawsuit by Democrats to block Republican-drawn congressional and state House districts.

Attorneys for the Democrats argued the new state House map splits counties too many times, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported. The House and congressional district maps, they said, are examples of “extreme partisan gerrymandering” in violation of Kentucky’s Constitution.

They asked that the new maps be temporarily blocked.

Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s office, representing the state, argued the maps are now law and the motion should be dismissed. Changing the maps would cause “chaos,” they said.

The Thursday hearing before Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate offered a glimpse into arguments in the case. Most in the courtroom appeared to agree the challenge would end up in Kentucky’s Supreme Court.

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The lawsuit asks the court to order that new maps be drawn or use maps enacted in 2013 for elections this year.

Attorneys for Democrats said while the Republicans’ state House map split the constitutionally required minimum number of counties, it split those 23 counties too many times. A Democratic plan splits those counties 60 times, while the GOP plan splits them 80 times, they said.

Attorneys for Cameron’s office called the maps fair.