If West Virginia state lawmakers don't redraw the state's three congressional districts in the next 14 days in order to more evenly distribute the state's population, a federal court will take up the task, a panel of judges ruled on Tuesday.
At issue is this: the population of the 2nd District exceeds the mean congressional district population by almost 3,200 voters. The Charleston Daily Mail:
Lawyers for West Virginia lawmakers argued that the new redistricting plan was drawn in an attempt to maintain the "core" of the current congressional districts and was therefore not unconstitutional.
The court said that plan, creating what it called the "serpentine Second District," already strayed far from the traditional notions of what a district should look like.
The new map that was approved by lawmakers hardly changes the old map. The one tweak: Mason County, formerly in the 2nd District, moved down into the 3rd District.
It's important to underscore that this is not a political dispute, like what's transpiring in Texas. The task of state lawmakers the next couple of weeks will be to bring the population distribution in line with the "one person, one person vote" standard.
From the ruling:
Scott Bland contributed
"At trial last week, the State helpfully conceded that the ... variance enacted through S.B. 1008 might have been reduced. ... Indeed, the State could hardly have argued otherwise, given that no fewer than seven less drastic alternatives were submitted for consideration. The State nonetheless maintains that the enacted variance is solely the result of its efforts to accommodate the legitimate goals of respecting county boundaries, preserving the cores of extant districts, and avoiding a contest in the Republican primary between two of West Virginia's incumbent representatives, David McKinley and Shelley Moore Capito."