Fourth Cir. Appoints Panel to Hear Maryland Redistricting Lawsuit - U.S. Fourth Circuit
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Fourth Cir. Appoints Panel to Hear Maryland Redistricting Lawsuit

Here's a little political news to cap off your week, Fourth Circuit fans.

Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge William Traxler Jr. announced the three-judge panel that will consider the lawsuit contesting Maryland's Congressional redistricting map this week. The judges are Fourth Circuit Judge Paul Niemeyer, and U.S. District Judges Alexander Williams and Roger Titus, both of the District Court for the District of Maryland.

In November, nine Maryland citizens filed a federal claim against the state alleging that the new congressional redistricting map violates the Voting Rights Act by “diluting the electoral strength of minorities,” reports The Washington Post.

The map, which has the support of most Maryland Democrats, including Governor Martin O’Malley, would increase the Democratic majority in the state’s House delegation. The increase, however, comes at the price of an additional majority-minority district.

The Maryland Attorney General’s Office filed a motion to deny a three-judge panel and a memorandum in support of a motion to dismiss the lawsuit last month. The state argued that the matter could be decided by a single judge, and that the plaintiffs failed to station a claim upon which relief could be granted.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, but Judge Traxler noted that the panel could return the case if the judges decided that a three-judge panel was not warranted.

At least one Maryland Democrat, State Senator Anthony Muse, has spoken out against the plan, telling The Baltimore Sun, “this type of gerrymandering is what our citizens fought against during the civil rights era.”

For more updates on the Maryland redistricting lawsuit, and other news from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, add FindLaw’s Fourth Circuit blog to your RSS Feed.

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