Featured Story: Redistricting Spawns a Battle for State Courts ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ 
Brennan Center
The State of Play
Forty-one of the forty-four states with more than one congressional district have finalized new congressional maps as of April 12, 2022; only Florida, Missouri, and New Hampshire have not finished the redistricting process. Likewise, forty-five states have finalized new legislative maps. Only Montana and New Hampshire, where redistricting bodies have not yet finalized their legislative maps, and Ohio, Wisconsin, and Tennessee, where legislative maps are still subject to court review, are left to go.
The Brennan Center has two trackers you can use to keep up with the redistricting cycle. Our Redistricting Map Tracker contains links to all of the newly passed maps, while our Redistricting Litigation Roundup outlines the legal cases pending over new plans.
All told, 67 cases around the country have challenged newly passed congressional or legislative maps as racially discriminatory or partisan gerrymanders — or both. 50 of these cases are still pending at either at the trial court or appellate level.
Featured Story: Redistricting Spawns a Battle for State Courts
After state courts across the country threw out gerrymandered pro-Republican maps, Republicans are trying to change the makeup of state courts across the country. In North Carolina and Ohio, Republicans are looking to win seats on the supreme courts to create a conservative majority, while Republican legislators in Pennsylvania are considering changing elections so that justices run in districts rather than statewide, which would dilute the voting power that Philadelphia and Pittsburgh currently have in statewide elections.
The battle over state courts could see record spending in the 2022 midterms. In a Brennan Center report published earlier this year, author Douglas Keith found that the $100 million spent on state supreme court elections between 2019 and 2020 was the largest amount on record. Keith said he expects to see even more in 2022, “It is absolutely on stakeholders’ minds that these courts are positioned to play a significant role.”
VIRTUAL EVENT SERIES: Drawing the Line: How Redistricting Impacts Latino Communities
Hispanic Federation and the Brennan Center are co-hosting a series of panels that will provide an update on the redistricting process in North Carolina, Florida, Texas, and Georgia. Panelists will discuss the impact that the new maps will have on the Latino community, upcoming elections, and representation at all levels.
You can RSVP here.
Georgia: Thursday, April 14 | 11 a.m. ET
Speakers: Gigi Pedraza, Chief Executive Officer & Founder, Latino Community Fund Georgia; Yurij Rudensky, Senior Counsel, Democracy, Brennan Center; Jackie Colón, Southeast Regional Director, NALEO Educational Fund; Jerry Gonzalez, Chief Executive Officer, GALEO; Genny Castillo, Regional Engagement Director, Southern Economic Advancement Project; Moderator: Frankie Miranda, President & CEO, Hispanic Federation
Featured Map: If You’re Going to San Francisco...
San Francisco’s redistricting task force, made up of members appointed by the elections commission, the mayor, and the Board of Supervisors, recently voted to approve a draft final map of supervisorial districts, with five members voting in favor and four members walking out of the meeting, objecting to votes on last-minute changes and a lack of transparency. The redistricting deliberations have been tense, with critics alleging that some members of the task force are catering to special interests and ignoring the needs of marginalized communities in their map proposals, though the elections commission declined to remove the members it appointed.
One of the most controversial issues with the plan is that it divides the Tenderloin and South of Market (SoMa) — two neighborhoods that are home to large LGBTQ communities — between two supervisorial districts, which would dramatically alter the map. The Tenderloin is home to the world’s only transgender cultural district and activists claim that the plan would isolate it from other LGBTQ communities in SoMa while also displacing the neighborhood’s low-income residents. The task force heard emotional testimony lambasting the plan after its vote on Friday. While the task force cannot make large changes to the map, it has until April 15 to make any small tweaks.
Redistricting in the News
According to state election officials, Ohio must have finalized legislative districts by April 20 to properly administer primary and general elections in August. The Ohio Supreme Court is currently reviewing objections to a fourth set of legislative maps along with responses from the members of the redistricting commission to a contempt motion for failing to enact legislative maps. In their responses, Republican members objected to the contempt proceedings while the two democratic members emphasized that they encouraged the commission to consider publicly submitted maps.
Meanwhile, in federal court, a three-judge panel is reviewing briefs calling on the court to impose a map drawn by independent map-drawers appointed by the Ohio Redistricting Commission and to delay the primary election for the general assembly to August 2. That same panel also said they would not use this case to consider challenges to the state’s congressional map.
After Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed the congressional plan passed by the state legislature and called a special session to draw a new map, the state House Speaker and Senate President have said that legislators will not draw a map and will instead wait for DeSantis to propose one that he would sign. Meanwhile a federal court has set a schedule for a trial should the legislature fail to pass a plan in the special session, with map and evidence submissions due before the end of the month and a trial beginning on May 12.
In the fight over Texas’s congressional and legislative maps, Republicans are pursuing the legal argument that private individuals do not have standing to sue the state under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, and that redistricting is not covered by Section 2 in the first place. As Alex Ura of The Texas Tribune notes, “Should either argument prevail — which would almost certainly require it to be embraced by a conservative U.S. Supreme Court that has already struck down other portions of the law — the courthouse door will be slammed shut on many future lawsuits over discriminatory map-drawing and voting practices.”
Texas State Senator Beverly Powell (D) says her swing district in Tarrant County was so gerrymandered by Republicans that it became “unwinnable” for a Democrat. Powell has dropped out of her race saying, "That time and those resources are better spent on efforts that will advance our causes and on the continuing efforts to restore voting rights." Powell's district was radically transformed in redistricting by replacing voters of color in Tarrant County with predominantly white voters from seven rural counties.
A New York appellate judge ordered that candidate petitioning proceed for the state’s June primary using the legislative and congressional maps passed by the legislature but said that the trial court — which had declared the maps unconstitutional — could hire an expert to redraw maps in the event it is necessary after resolution of appeals. The Brennan Center’s Michael Li described the decision to allow the trial court to hire a special master as prudent, noting, “Too often, map drawing gets put completely on hold and then by the time a case is decided, there isn’t enough time to redraw maps, but that doesn’t mean the situation isn’t messy for lawmakers and even more so for people running for office.” Oral arguments in the appellate division are scheduled for April 20, with the court saying that it expects to rule “expeditiously” afterward.
The state-court trial over Kansas’s congressional map has concluded. Though the judge is expected to rule within days, it is widely expected that the case will be appealed to the state supreme court no matter his ruling. The maps were enacted by the state legislature overriding Gov. Laura Kelly’s (D) veto. Plaintiffs argue that the plan purposefully dilutes the votes of Black and Latino voters in Kansas City’s Wyandotte County, which they say reflects the area’s history of discrimination and redlining.
After New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) and state legislators reached an impasse over the state’s congressional plan, the state supreme court agreed to assume jurisdiction of challenges to the state’s congressional map and has appointed law professor Nathaniel Persily as a special master to create a plan should the governor and legislature fail to agree on one. Persily also drew Connecticut’s maps and the revised Alabama congressional map that was subsequently struck down by the Supreme Court.
Maryland finally has new congressional districts after the original plan was struck down by a state court judge. The legislature quickly passed a plan and the state Attorney General agreed to dismiss his office’s appeal of the judge’s ruling after conversations with legislative leaders and Gov. Larry Hogan (R).
After an appeal from Gov. Bill Lee (R), the Tennessee Supreme Court has ordered that the high court assume jurisdiction of the case over the state senate map passed by the legislature, bypassing intermediate appeals courts. A lower court struck down the senate map drawn by the legislature for violating a state constitution provision requiring senate districts within the same county to be numbered sequentially to allow for even and odd-numbered seats to run in alternate election cycles. In a 2–1 ruling, the lower-court panel ordered a new map, with the majority arguing, “There is no dispute about this constitutional language or what the framers of the Constitution of Tennessee meant by this language.”
You can find earlier editions of our Redistricting Roundup here.