Kansas court wrestles with gerrymandering

An attorney argued that congressional redistricting is naturally political and the Kansas Supreme Court shouldn't get involved. A judge criticized his "boys will be boys" argument.

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State News

May 17, 2022 - 4:06 PM

Solicitor General Brant Laue argues in front of the Kansas Supreme Court on Monday afternoon for reversal of a Wyandotte County District Court’s ruling that a new congressional map was unconstitutional. Photo by (Thad Allton for Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A top Kansas government attorney argued Monday that congressional redistricting is naturally political and that the Kansas Supreme Court shouldn’t try to decide when partisanship goes too far, only to be chastised by one of the justices for making a “boys will be boys” argument.

The Supreme Court heard arguments in the state’s appeal of a lower court ruling that represented the first time that a Kansas court declared that partisan gerrymandering violates the state constitution. The lower court ruling struck down a Republican congressional redistricting law that would make it harder for the only Democrat in the state’s congressional delegation to win reelection this year. The GOP-controlled Legislature enacted it over Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto.

Federal judges — not the Kansas courts — have typically reviewed congressional boundaries, but the U.S. Supreme Court declared in 2019 that complaints about partisan gerrymandering are political issues and not for the federal courts to resolve.

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