DC: A three-judge panel ruled Wednesday that Maryland officials violated the Constitution when they redrew the boundaries of the state’s 6th Congressional District to favor Democrats.
The unanimous decision requires state officials to draw new district lines for the 6th and 8th Districts by the 2020 election.
“With this unanimous ruling, the federal court is confirming what we in Maryland have known for a long time — that we have the most gerrymandered districts in the country, they were drawn this way for partisan reasons, and they violate Marylanders’ constitutional rights,” said GOP Gov. Larry Hogan, fresh off a convincing victory in his bid for a second term.
An earlier iteration of the case reached the U.S. Supreme Court on March 28, as the justices weighed several other constitutional challenges to partisan gerrymandering. Ultimately, the high court was unable to resolve those weighty questions, and returned the cases to lower courts for further proceedings of procedural and jurisdictional grounds.
The 6th District encompasses the western, conservative stretches of Maryland, then runs south to encompass the Washington, D.C., suburbs. After the 2010 census, Maryland Democrats recalibrated the district to fold in tens of thousands of D.C. area voters in a bid to oust former GOP Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, the longtime incumbent.
The gambit worked — Bartlett lost the race by 20 points, having held the seat without serious opposition since 1992. more here