October 20, 2011

Congressional redistricting signed into law; lawsuits expected

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Gov. Martin O'Malley signs redistricting bill, with, from left, Lt. Gov. anthony Brown, Senate President Mike Miller, O'Malley, House Speaker Michael Busch, House Clerk Mary Monahan,

Gov. Martin O'Malley signs redistricting bill, with, from left, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Senate President Mike Miller, O'Malley, House Speaker Michael Busch, and House Clerk Mary Monahan.


Gov. Martin O’Malley signed his recommended congressional redistricting plan into law Thursday, but the law will almost certainly be challenged in federal court on a number of grounds, including diluting minority voting strength.

An hour after the Senate corrected 24 technical errors in the bill, O’Malley said the plan “fulfills our constitutional responsibility.”

“The process was fair, the process was open,” the governor asserted.

But Republicans insist the final product was anything but fair and transparent. It shifted more than 300,000 Montgomery Democrats into the 6th Congressional District now served by 10-term Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, and took out reliable Republican voters in Baltimore, Carroll and Frederick counties.

O’Malley did not submit the final version of his plan, which was introduced in the House of Delegates and Senate on Monday morning, until Saturday evening.

As a sign of the “rushed nature” of the bill drafting cited by Republicans, the lawmakers had to amend the legislation twice to correct the technical errors.

From the rostrum Thursday, Senate President Mike Miller publicly reamed the head of the Department of Legislative Services, Karl Aro, for the mistakes in the bill. Aro heads the legislature’s nonpartisan staff of about 750 people and took personal charge of the redistricting process, which he helped draft after two previous censuses.

“The mistakes were unacceptable,” Miller said, after meeting with Aro that morning. “We have to be more careful.”

“It’s not going to happen in the future,” Miller said.

Democrats are already lining up to run against Bartlett. Former Montgomery County Council member Duchy Trachtenburg announced Thursday she would run for the seat. Senate Majority Leader Rob Garagiola is also expected to make a run.

—Len Lazarick
Len@MarylandReporter.com

  • Anonymous

    Karl Aro doesn’t make mistakes, Mike Miller does.  Case-in-point: how many senate session audio recprdomgs have been edited for Miller dropping the f-bomb?  It’s too bad he blames Aro for his own transgressions and kind of sad too. 

    The map is a definitive sham and breaks up a minority-majority county (with 492,000+minorities) into 3 majority-white districts with white incumbents.  We’ve heard Martin O’Malley’s take: “it’s fair, it’s open”, Mike Miller’s take: “it’s aesthetically pleasing” and now we will likely hear a federal court’s take: “cracking in gerrymandering is immoral and illegal.”

  • Centerrightmd

    Just what did the minorities expect when they elected the Maser?

    One day they’ll get tired of being on the Plantation.

    But then, the Maser will be giving his orders in Spanish.

  • Elizabeth

    The Maryland Constitution, Declaration of Rights, which is the fundamental law of this State says under Article 1 that “all Government of right originates from the People, is founded in compact only, and instituted solely for the good of the whole; and they have, at all times, the inalienable right to alter, reform or abolish
    their Form of Government in such manner as they may deem expedient. ” The purpose of govenrment is to secure our God-goven rights; it has been used to secure the power of our elected officials. Gerrymanderiing is offensive and illegal. http://www.msa.md.gov/msa/mdmanual/43const/html/00dec.html

  • Ortsac_62

    Lets see how funny the Governor is when his redistricting map is readjusted by a Federal Court and put the 6th back in Carrol and the 8th goes to sharpsburg instead where Roscoe might be redistricted to the 8th Congressional District.