Judicial Watch, MDPetitions.com Statement Regarding Maryland’s High Court’s Decision Granting Maryland Voters Right to Vote on Gerrymandered Congressional Redistricting Map
AUGUST 17, 2012
(Washington, DC) –MDPetitions.com’s Chairman Delegate Neil Parrott and Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton issued a statement today following a ruling by Maryland’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, that allows a voter referendum on Maryland’s newly gerrymandered Congressional Districting Plan to proceed. Maryland’s highest court today shot down an effort begun by the state Democratic party that sought to stop the referendum (Dennis Whitley, III, et al., v. Maryland State Board of Elections, et al.( No. 02-C-12-171365)).
MDPetitions.com launched a successful petition drive to put the Congressional Districting Plan to a referendum November 2012 because gerrymandered maps minimize the voting power of certain groups. Maryland Democrats filed a lawsuit to stop the referendum from going forward. Judicial Watch is representing MDPetitions.com and defended the effort at a hearing before the High Court in Annapolis, MD yesterday. The court issued a per curiam order, which this morning affirmed the decision of the lower court that had already allowed the referendum to proceed.
Delegate Neil Parrott, Chairman of MDPetitions.com said:
“Today is a great victory for all Maryland voters. We are pleased that voters will have a say on what is likely the most gerrymandered congressional map in the country. On Election Day, we expect that both Democrats and Republicans will overturn these undemocratic and racially divisive congressional maps.”
“Governor O’Malley and certain Democrat powerbrokers will now be held accountable to the will of the people of Maryland,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Our lawyers were honored to protect the right of voters to exercise their right to keep in check the excesses of the politicians in Annapolis.
On October 20, 2011, Governor Martin O’Malley (D-MD) signed the new Congressional Districting Plan into law, drawing heavy criticism from both political parties. Critics maintain the new congressional map is specifically designed to enhance the power of Democrat incumbents while minimizing the voting power of minorities, rural voters and Republicans.
As noted by a Washington Post editorial: “The map, drafted under Mr. O’Malley’s watchful eye, mocks the idea that voting districts should be compact or easily navigable. The eight districts respect neither jurisdictional boundaries nor communities of interest. To protect incumbents and for partisan advantage, the map has been sliced, diced, shuffled and shattered, making districts resemble studies in cubism.”