The US Supreme Court won’t review a congressional redistricting law enacted by the Republican-controlled Kansas Legislature that some voters and Democrats saw as political gerrymandering.
The nation’s highest court said Monday without explanation that it won’t hear an appeal of a Kansas Supreme Court ruling from May 2022 that upheld the redistricting law, which was challenged by 11 voters.
The appeal centered on the Kansas court’s rejection of critics’ claims that the new congressional map was racially gerrymandered. The Kansas court also ruled that the state constitution permits partisan gerrymandering.
The GOP map had appeared to hurt the chances of reelection last year for the only Democrat in the state’s congressional delegation, US Rep. Sharice Davids, in her Kansas City-area district. But Davids still won her race in November by 12 percentage points.
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The law also moved the liberal northeastern Kansas city of Lawrence into a district with heavily Republican western Kansas.
The Legislature must redraw political boundaries at least once every 10 years to ensure that districts are as equal in population as possible. The Kansas Supreme Court split 4-3 on whether the state constitution allows partisan gerrymandering.
The Kansas court’s majority said the state constitution doesn’t bar lawyers from considering partisan factors in drafting their maps. It added that state courts would have no clear standard for what constitutes improper gerrymandering absent a “zero tolerance” standard.