Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Ind. Gov't. - "3 Democrats file suit challenging redistricting plan approved by Mayor Ballard"
Tim Evans and Jon Murray report today in the Indianapolis Star:
Three Democratic members of the City-County Council filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking to overturn a redistricting plan passed by the former Republican council majority and signed by Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard.Here, via the Indianapolis Star, is the 5-page lawsuit.
Council President Maggie Lewis, Vice President John Barth and Majority Leader Vernon Brown are the plaintiffs in the suit.
Democrats took control of the council following the 2011 election, and Tuesday’s lawsuit long had been expected in their escalating battle with Ballard and his fellow Republicans over redistricting.
The lawsuit names the three members of the Marion County Election Board — Clerk Beth White and members Mark K. Sullivan and Patrick J. Dietrick — as defendants. It seeks to have the GOP redistricting plan revoked on the contention that the work was not done in 2012, as required by Indiana law. White and Sullivan are Democrats. Dietrick is a Republican.
The lawsuit asks Marion Superior Court to declare the Republican-passed maps improper and to draw a new set of boundaries. The case likely will end up in the Indiana Supreme Court. * * *
After the lawsuit was filed Tuesday, the Marion County clerk’s office selected a five-judge panel that will hear the redistricting case, as required by Indiana law.
The judges — three Democrats and two Republicans — were chosen randomly through an electronic process, spokeswoman Angie Nussmeyer said.
The presiding judge on the case is Heather Welch, a Democrat. She will be joined by Democrats James Osborn and Thomas Carroll and Republicans Theodore Sosin and Cynthia Ayers.
State law prohibits the judicial panel assigned to the redistricting case from recusing the court from the matter. * * *
Ballard signed the current maps into law on January 1, 2012, the same day Democrats gained their new council majority.
State law required the council to redraw district boundaries during 2012, using 2010 census data. The Ballard administration views his signing of the GOP’s 2011-passed redistricting plan at the start of 2012 as satisfying the law, since that constituted the adoption date.