Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Marion County Panel Of Judges Strike Down City-County Council Maps

The Star's Jon Murray has posted a brief online story indicating that a 5-judge panel of Marion Superior Court judges has struck down a Republican-drawn redistricting plan for Indianapolis' 25 City-County Council districts. The panel's vote was 3-2 along party lines. The story does not yet include a copy of the panel's opinion or the basis for striking it down. Marion County Democrats have argued that the Republican-controlled council violated state law by approving a redistricting ordinance in the calendar year prior to the year it was required to perform the decennial redistricting of council seats. Mayor Greg Ballard waited until the beginning of the following calendar year to sign the ordinance in order to sidestep the law's requirement.

UPDATE: An updated story on the Star's website includes the following quote from the majority's opinion:
The 17-page majority opinion disagrees with that view, finding that Indiana law required the council between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2012, to conduct the process of drawing the districts, using data from the 2010 census; debate the boundaries; and vote on the plan.
That Ballard signed the Republican-passed maps on the first day of 2012 didn’t meet that requirement, Osborn wrote.
“Because no ordinance with a plan for mandatory redistricting was signed into law, this Court has jurisdiction to redraw the district boundaries in a nonpartisan manner pursuant to” the redistricting law, the opinion says.
The story notes that the lawsuit has already cost taxpayers $225,000. Don't be surprised if those costs don't reach close to $1 million before it's all over. Republicans are likely to appeal the ruling. Since it's the taxpayers footing the bill, neither party cares how much money gets spent.

1 comment:

Paul K. Ogden said...

I don't think the law prohibits redistricting when the Republicans did. The argument is that the redistricting does not satisfy the absolute requirement that redistricting be done in 2012. So the Republicans effort while legal was worthless.