Thursday, July 18, 2013

11th-Hour GOP Districts Nixed by Court Panel

2004-2015 City-County Council Districts Map
The City-County Council maps drawn and approved in 2011 by the former City-County Council Republican majority were struck down yesterday by a panel of Marion County Superior Court judges.

In case you've forgotten, the Council accepted a no-bid quarter of a million dollar contract to have longtime GOP insider David Brooks draw the districts in 2011, and with little public input or attempt to get public input, Brooks did that in 2011. In the waning stages of being in the majority and knowing they would soon be in the minority, the GOP rushed to get the Brooks redistricting passed and through the Council in late 2011.  Mayor Ballard signed the new districts into law on January 1, 2012 claiming that the law had been satisfied to do redistricting in 2012.

Three of the five judges disagreed, and, as the Indianapolis Star's Jon Murray pointed out, it broke out on party lines.

The majority of the court (all three Democrats) found that simply approving the districts on January 1, 2012 did not constitute redistricting in that year. The two Republican judges dissented.  The Star reports that this decision likely will send the matter to the Indiana Supreme Court.

Democrats did the work the Republicans did not do in 2012, but those districts were vetoed by Mayor Veto Ballard.

You never know what will happen at the Supreme Court level.  Recent changes to the court lineup could signal a more political court than in the past.

When the Supreme Court redrew the districts last time around, it produced three rounds of pretty competitive Council races.  The Council changed majorities in 2007 and 2011.

In 2015, these new districts will be the only City-County Council races on the ballot as the four At-Large Council seats have been removed thanks to the Greg Ballard Power Grab (SEA 621).  On January 1, 2016, whatever is eventually adopted will become the new districts for Council representation.


Paul K. Ogden said...

Technically the Court said what the Republicans did was a permissive redistricting and that it did not satisfy the requirement that the council be redistricted in 2012. So what was done by redistricting in 2011 was not illegal, it was just worthless.

Veracity said...

Great work by attorneys Bill Groth and Geof Lohman!