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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Ind. Gov't. - Marion County redistricting dispute in court Monday

Updating this ILB entry from May 1st, Jon Murray reports today in a story today in the Indianapolis Star - here is the start:

A redistricting battle that has pitted Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard against City-County Council Democrats for more than a year will get its day in court Monday.

That’s when a panel of five judges from Marion Superior Court will hear arguments from Republican and Democratic attorneys representing each side.

Appropriately enough, the hearing will be in the council’s chambers on the second floor of the City-County Building. That’s to accommodate the unusual number of judges, which Indiana law requires for the redistricting dispute.

For the last two months, attorneys representing the Republican mayor and the council Democrats — President Maggie Lewis, Vice President John Barth and Majority Leader Vernon Brown — have filed dueling, barb-filled court briefs.

Essentially, the case boils down to whether the division of the council’s 25 district boundaries was “made” last year — as required by law following the 2010 census — or in 2011, which would require a new map.

The lame-duck Republican council majority passed a redistricting plan in December 2011. But Ballard signed it into law on Jan. 1, 2012. Hence, Republicans argue that the mayor’s signing of the law on the first day of 2012 qualified as enacting the new district boundaries last year, as required.

Democrats argue the boundaries were actually drawn when the council passed the ordinance, late the prior year, and it doesn’t matter when Ballard signed the ordinance.

Regardless of whether Democrats are right, Republican attorney David Brooks wrote in a recent filing, the GOP maps still should be legal because another part of state law allows for redistricting anytime except during the year leading up to an election. The outgoing Republican council passed the disputed redistricting plan more than a month after the 2011 election.

Democrats took over the majority in January 2012. And late last year, they passed a competing redistricting plan on a party-line vote. Ballard vetoed it, calling it unnecessary.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 15, 2013 09:42 AM
Posted to Indiana Government