Judge Shepherd tells legislature to redraw the redistricting maps; districts to revert back to old lines

02/07/2012 02:32 PM

Franklin Circuit Judge Phil Shepherd ruled Tuesday afternoon that the new state House and Senate maps were constitutionally flawed and that the legislature needed to redraw them.

In the meantime, the districts will revert back to their old lines in place since 2002, and Shepherd extended the filing deadline until Friday at 4 p.m. for candidates to run in those districts. Read the judge’s conclusions here: Ruling_conclusion.pdf

House Republicans and supporters of Democratic Sen. Kathy Stein challenged the new districts on several fronts, including that at least one Senate district and one House district were over the thresholds for maximum population.

Shepherd agreed the maps exceeded the maximum population deviation. His ruling also said that both the House and Senate plans divided more than the fewest possible number of counties — the House divided 28 when only 22 were necessary to split and the Senate divided five when just four were too populous and needed to be split.

“The court is required to apply this binding precedent and hold that the legislative redistricting provisions of House Bill 1 violate Section 33 of the Kentucky Constitution, as constructed by the Kentucky Supreme Court,” Shepherd wrote.

Judge Shepherd’s ruling agreed the Legislative Research Commission made strong arguments that Section 33 should be more flexible but said that needs to be taken up with the Kentucky Supreme Court.

Shepherd found that “the duty of this Court is to apply the binding precedents that control the application of Section 33. Under the controlling precedents, the provisions of House Bill 1 simply fail to pass constitutional muster.”


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