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Kansas Supreme Court asked to dismiss redistricting lawsuits

February 19, 2022 GMT

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s office has asked the Kansas Supreme Court to dismiss two lawsuits that challenge new Republican-drawn congressional redistricting maps.

In a petition filed Friday, Schmidt’s office argued the state court system does not have jurisdiction to decide disputes over redistricting for federal offices.

Democrats, a civil rights group and a national elections watchdog filed two lawsuits Monday against Kansas officials over the new maps, which would cost U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, the state’s only Democrat in Congress, some of the territory in her Kansas City-area district that she carries by wide margins in elections.

The new redistricting law took effect last week after the GOP-controlled Legislature overrode Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto.

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The lawsuits argue the maps violate the Kansas Constitution and the Legislature’s redistricting guidelines.

Lawsuits over congressional redistricting in Kansas have been generally been filed in federal court. The Kansas Constitution does not specifically mention congressional redistricting.

Schmidt’s office also asks the state Supreme Court to bypass the district court and take up the lawsuits itself, arguing that an expedited decision is needed because of election timelines.