KANSAS CITY, Kan. (WDAF) — A judge in Wyandotte County ruled that new, legislatively drawn congressional maps violate the rights of Kansans and will now be up the Kansas Supreme Court to decide.
Under the new map, the northern part of Wyandotte County would go into Congressional District 2, represented by Republican Rep. Jake LaTurner.
People in southern Wyandotte and Johnson County would still be represented by Congresswoman Sharice Davids, the only Democrat from Kansas in the U.S. House.
The lawsuits argue that Kansas lawmakers produced maps that create unconstitutional racial vote dilution. According to the ACLU, the map’s new boundaries, rammed through the legislature, drowns out the voices of voters in Wyandotte County and in Lawrence.
Specifically, the map removes the northern part of Kansas City from the 3rd District seat and put it in the neighboring 2nd District, which includes Topeka, but also rural communities across eastern Kansas. It also puts a more liberal Lawrence in western Kansas, which is historically more concretive.
The ACLU tweeted, “We’re pleased the court saw what we knew: Ad Astra was created to deliver unconstitutional racial vote dilution, purposefully crafted to drown out the voices of Kansans. We’re literally fighting for our Democracy—a fight we’re ready to see through at the Supreme Court.”
Kansas Senate leadership filed this statement, “it is not a surprise that a left-wing judge would side with left-wing special interest groups over the people of Kansas, whose elected representatives enacted a fair map with a super majority. The ruling simply means we are on to the next step, which is an appeal by the Attorney General.”
Meanwhile, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt filed a petition with the Kansas Supreme Court seeking approval of the newly redrawn state legislative district maps.
“The new legislative district boundaries appear to satisfy all legal requirements previously established by state constitutional, statutory or common law,” he said. “Today, I am asking the Kansas Supreme Court to approve the new district boundaries as quickly as possible so candidate filing for this year’s legislative elections can proceed without unnecessary disruption or delay.”
The AG’s office said the court is now required to make a ruling on the validity of the new legislative boundaries within 30 days of the filing of the petition seeking review.