Legislative candidates must run this year under 2002 maps, Supreme Court rules

02/24/2012 03:14 PM

The Kentucky state Supreme Court has upheld Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phil Shepherd’s ruling that the legislative redistricting maps passed by the House and Senate and signed into law by the governor are unconstitutional.

The court ordered that candidates for the General Assembly run for election in the districts that were in place since 2002. The legislature will have to try again with new maps in the 2013 session.

The six justices who heard the case Friday morning agreed that the maps were in violation of Section 33 of the Kentucky Constitution, as first reported by The Courier-Journal.

Section 33 of the Kentucky Constitution requires the General Assembly to split the fewest number of counties, the House plan carved up 28 counties, and the Republicans drew a map that divided just 24 counties.

“Until the General Assembly passes redistricting legislation that complies with section 33 of the Kentucky Constitution, the terms of the injunction entered by the Franklin Circuit Court remain in place,” the ruling said.

“The Supreme Court has the ultimate authority to determine the constitutionality of any statute and I accept their decision,” said Senate President David L. Williams in a written statement. “We stand prepared to run in the old districts or draw new legislative lines, if the House is so inclined, in conformity with the Supreme Court ruling.”

House Speaker Greg Stumbo was not available for immediate comment on the ruling.

Because of uneven growth of population across the state over the last decade, the 2002 map has obvious population flaws. That’s the reason for drawing a new map every ten years is to adjust for those population deviations.

Here are the top 10 largest House districts as currently drawn, of which the top eight are held by Republicans.

#1 — Santoro, a Florence Republican, (60th Dist. southern and western Boone County) 61,922
#2 — Rep. Kevin Bratcher, a Louisville Republican, (29th Dist. in southern Jefferson County) 58,348
#3 — Quarles, a Georgetown Republican, (62nd Dist. in Scott and part of Fayette counties) 58,232
#4 — Rep. Bob DeWeese, a Louisville Republican, (48th Dist. in northern Jefferson County) 57,316
#5 — Rep. Brad Montell, a Shelbyville Republican, (58th Dist. in Shelby and most of Spencer counties) 55,670
#6 — Rep. David Osborne, a Prospect Republican, (59th Dist. in southern Oldham and a few Jefferson County precincts) 55,004
#7 — Rep. Addia Wuchner, a Florence Republican, (66th Dist. in northeast Boone County) 52,522
#8 — Rep. Jim DeCesare, a Rockfield Republican, (21st Dist. in Warren County) 52,240
#9 — Rep. Jody Richards, a Bowling Green Democrat, (20th Dist. in central Warren County) 52,049
#10 — Rep. Jimmie Lee, an Elizabethtown Democrat, (25th Dist. in Hardin County) 51,532

The ideal population deviation is 43,394 people for an ideal house district.

Here are the ten smallest counties in population:

#1 — Rep. Darryl Owens, a Louisville Democrat, (43rd Dist. in downtown Louisville) 35,580
#2 — Rep. Arnold Simpson, a Covington Democrat, (65th Dist. that covers Covington in northeast Kenton County) 35,617
#3 — Rep. Teddy Edmonds, a Beattyville Democrat, (91st Dist. covering Breathitt, Estill and Lee counties) 36,437
#4 — Stumbo, a Prestonsburg Democrat, (95th Dist. covering much of Floyd County) 36,945
#5 — Rep. Wade Hurt, a Louisville Democrat, (37th Dist. in southern Louisville) 37,367
#6 — Rep. Dennis Keene, a Wilder Democrat, (67th Dist. at the northern tip of Campbell County) 37,613
#7 — Rep. Reginald Meeks, a Louisville Democrat, (42nd Dist. in western Louisville) 37,649
#8 — Rep. Kevin Sinnette, an Ashland Democrat, (100th Dist. covering Boyd County) 37,710
#9 — Rep. Tim Couch, a Hyden Republican, (90th Dist. covering Clay, Leslie and part of Harlan counties) 37,809
#10 — Rep. Steven Rudy, a West Paducah Republican, (1st Dist. covering Ballard, Fulton, Hickman, Carlisle and part McCracken counties) 37,943

For this year, and the 2012 election that is how the counties stack up according to the census figures. Next year they will try again.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.



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