Judge Throws Out Maryland Congressional Map Over "Extreme" Gerrymandering
March 25, 2022|Updated March 25, 2022 at 5:12 p.m. EDT
A Maryland judge has thrown out the state’s congressional map, calling it an “extreme partisan gerrymander” in what is a victory for Republicans who said Democrats in the state General Assembly sought to silence their votes. The ruling Friday by Anne Arundel County Senior Judge Lynne A. Battaglia marks the first time in Maryland history a judge has found a congressional map violated the state constitution. Battaglia ruled that the map ran afoul of rules laid out in Maryland law traditionally applied to legislative districts, requiring them to be compact and to give regard to political subdivisions. She also ruled that the map violated the state constitution’s equal protection, free speech and free elections clauses. The weight of the evidence, she said, “yields the conclusion that the 2021 Congressional Plan in Maryland is an ‘outlier,’ an extreme gerrymander that subordinates constitutional criteria to political considerations.” How redistricting is shaping the 2022 U.S. House map Battaglia enjoined the map from being used in this year’s primary and general elections in Maryland and ordered the General Assembly to redraw the map by Wednesday — a furious deadline for what has often been a weeks-long process.
A spokeswoman for the Maryland Attorney General’s Office said the office is still reviewing the decision and that it had not made a decision about whether to appeal.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) called the ruling “a monumental victory for every Marylander who cares about protecting our democracy, bringing fairness to our elections, and putting the people back in charge.”
The governor encouraged the General Assembly to the adopt the maps drawn by his citizen advisory committee, which the legislature previously rejected.
“This is a historic milestone in our fight to clean up the political process in our state, and ensure that the voices of the people we are elected to serve are finally heard,” he said.