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Archive for Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Brownback tells federal judicial panel to toss legislative redistricting maps

May 29, 2012

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— Gov. Sam Brownback on Tuesday told a three-judge panel to throw out all the state House and Senate redistricting plans that have been considered by the Legislature.

In a friend of the court brief, Brownback’s chief counsel Caleb Stegall said the legislative maps varied too greatly in population from ideal size districts.

“While this court has in front of it many plans considered at some point in the political process by the Kansas Legislature, none of those plans comes close to the stringent standard of equality required by the Constitution for court ordered plans,” Stegall argued. “Therefore, this court must eschew the easy route of simply approving one or the other of these plans.”

Brownback’s position was given to the federal panel that is hearing testimony in Kansas’ redistricting impasse.

The Legislature and Brownback failed to come to an agreement on redrawing political boundaries for congressional, legislative and State Board of Education districts during the 2012 session that ended earlier this month.

The matter is now before three federal judges: Kathryn Vratil, John Lungstrum and Mary Beck Briscoe, who is chief of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

A two-day hearing started Tuesday.

Every 10 years, legislators are charged with re-drawing district lines to account for changes and shifts in population. But political warfare erupted between conservative Republicans and a coalition of moderate Republicans and Democrats, with each side accusing the other of trying to gain the upper hand in getting their candidates elected.

Brownback, who is a conservative Republican, says he has a special interest in the case because he is “the state officer who would have been required to either approve or veto any reapportionment plan that successfully passed both the Kansas Senate and the Kansas House.”

To ensure that people are represented equally, courts demand that districts be as equal in size as possible.

The ideal size for a state Senate district is 70,896, and the ideal size for a state House district is 22,716.

Stegall said all the proposals considered by the Legislature had deviations from those populations ranging from 5.2 percent to 9.96 percent.

He said courts have allowed some leeway in districts drawn through the political process, but when courts draw the maps, those deviations are reduced to no more than two percent.

“In light of precedent set forth above, none of the state reapportionment plans considered by the Kansas Legislature satisfy the constitutional standards for equality that must be present in any court ordered plan. As such, this court must reject them all,” he said.

Stegall said there was one state Senate plan below two percent deviation that was on the Kansas legislative website but was never voted upon. That map was drawn up by a conservative legislator. Stegall didn’t endorse that plan but brought it to the panel’s attention.

Comments

Shane Garrett 1 year, 10 months ago

Well, you all know Sam has a plan. And I once heard that a few eggs must be broken to make an omelet. I am sure Sammy has the same idea. What else would you expect from a career politician?

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lucky_guy 1 year, 10 months ago

If the KS Legislature is so partisan and messed up that it can't do redistricting without judicial help them maybe we should just disband it and let any set of 3 random people decide everything. Faster, quicker and cheaper than what we have now. We could have a qualifying exam and only people with IQ's of 70 would be put in a pool and their names drawn and they would serve for 1 term. There you go everything is solved.

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somedude20 1 year, 10 months ago

Much like the bite of a brown recluse, the hand of the Brownback can be just as deadly and will take man many years to recover from this Brownback Necrotizing Fasciitis

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

The legislature should remain convened until Sam Brownback leaves Topeka,Kansas. He cannot be trusted to represent the state.

His personal agenda is what should be investigated. Brownback was not elected to promote his personal narrow views.

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

The Kansas Chamber of Commerce is RINO like Sam Brownback and his staff...... very narrow minded.

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Curtis Lange 1 year, 10 months ago

Looks like we found Bill Self's doppelgänger.

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bobberboy 1 year, 10 months ago

once again browncrack has to admit he screwed up !

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mikekt 1 year, 10 months ago

Well, he told the UN where to go, the Islamics what to do with themselves & now he has graduated into telling a Federal Court of much Wiser & more Honest people, than himself, what to do! Ha.Ha,Ha! What's Next for Sam The Sham Brownback? How about a speech to the faithful about the dangers of "Activist Judges" if he doesn't get what he wants from the Federal Courts? Waite till Brownback comes up with the chris kobach map, where nobody gets to vote, ( that they don't like! )......& there is no longer any need for the pretense of any voting districts because there are no legal voters left.

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James Nelson 1 year, 10 months ago

Brownback has proven to be the most insincere governor Kansas has ever had. There is no way whatsoever to keep Sam from dancing around in the spotlight while spouting off lie after lie. I've never seen anyone so eaten up with deceit. I think he actually believes if he can get his name in the national news a certain number of times during the next three years that he would be a shoo in for President in four years. I could almost pity the guy if he had not been doing his best to tear Kansas apart.

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JackMcKee 1 year, 10 months ago

This state was so much better off when Brownback was touring African countries for whatever reason.

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Bob_Keeshan 1 year, 10 months ago

A state senator told the judges this afternoon that the map submitted by Robyn Essex, "private citizen", was drawn by Peter Northcutt.

Mr. Northcutt is a member of Brownback's staff, and he drew the map using software provided to him by the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.

How odd for a "private citizen" to file a lawsuit and attach to it a map drawn by the Governor.

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kansanjayhawk 1 year, 10 months ago

The map the court comes up with is likely to be universally disliked.

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Phillbert 1 year, 10 months ago

What the Governor is saying is that rural Kansas needs to lose seats, as that's what the effect of his "suggestion" to the court would be.

And how nice of the Governor - who pledged that he wasn't going to endorse maps - to bring to the judges' attention a map drawn by one of his conservative friends. You know, just to point it out to them, not endorse it, but just mention it, without supporting it, of course.

Just like he never endorsed a map during the session...he just had his staff draw them up (with software from the Kansas Chamber, funneled through a front group) so he could show those maps to legislators. You know, just to show them, not to endorse them, but really more as a public service because he's just such a nice guy. http://cjonline.com/news/2012-05-26/politicians-play-hardball-map-fracas

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