WASHINGTON — The Kansas Supreme Court on Wednesday overruled a lower court finding that had declared the state’s new congressional map an unconstitutional gerrymander. The decision hands a victory to Republicans who divided Kansas City, the state’s Democratic stronghold, between two House districts.
The map, enacted by the Republican-controlled State Legislature, endangers the only one of the state’s four House seats that is held by a Democrat. The court’s two-page ruling explained neither the reasoning behind the verdict nor how the seven justices had voted, saying a full opinion would be issued later.
A lower court ruled last month that the Legislature had split metropolitan Kansas City along both racial and partisan lines in an effort to break Democrats’ hold on the Third Congressional District.
Lawyers for the Campaign Legal Center and the American Civil Liberties Union had argued that the Republican map violated the State Constitution’s guarantees of the right to vote, of equal protection and of free speech and assembly.
High courts cited similar clauses in other state constitutions this spring when striking down partisan gerrymanders in North Carolina, Maryland and New York.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.