The Rem­edy

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Ho­gan’s ex­ec­u­tive or­der es­tab­lishes a com­mis­sion com­pris­ing the fol­low­ing ap­pointees by the gover­nor: one reg­is­tered Demo­crat, one Re­pub­li­can and one per­son not reg­is­tered with ei­ther of the ma­jor par­ties. The com­mis­sion also would in­clude another six mem­bers se­lected from a pub­lic ap­pli­ca­tion process: two Democrats, two Repub­li­cans and two more un­af­fil­i­ated mem­bers.

The mem­bers can­not be con­gress­men or can­di­dates. They can­not be em­ployed by a po­lit­i­cal party or com­mit­tee. They may not serve on the staff of the gover­nor, the Gen­eral As­sem­bly or Congress. Cur­rent and for­mer lob­by­ists also will not be con­sid­ered.

“The se­lec­tion of mem­bers shall be in­tended to pro­duce a Com­mis­sion that is in­de­pen­dent from leg­isla­tive in­flu­ence and rea­son­ably rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the State’s di­ver­sity and ge­og­ra­phy,” the ex­ec­u­tive or­der states.

Ac­cord­ing to Mon­day’s re­lease, Ho­gan also plans to in­tro­duce a re­dis­trict­ing re­form act when the next 90-day Gen­eral As­sem­bly ses­sion opens in Jan­uary. This will be the fourth time he has sub­mit­ted the bill, which state leg­is­la­tors did not bring to a vote in his pre­vi­ous three at­tempts, the re­lease states.

“The peo­ple of Mary­land and the fed­eral courts agree that the time for our state to act is now to fi­nally re­store bal­ance and fair­ness to our elec­tions, to once and for all re­move the pol­i­tics and the politi­cians from the process of draw­ing their own dis­tricts,” Ho­gan said Mon­day. “This leg­is­la­tion pro­vides for a non­par­ti­san re­dis­trict­ing com­mis­sion and the re­sult will be a fair, non­par­ti­san, open, and trans­par­ent re­dis­trict­ing process for all leg­isla­tive and con­gres­sional dis­tricts.”

Niemeyer’s opin­ion dis­cusses how Mary­land has con­sti­tu­tional re­quire­ments for re­dis­trict­ing its Gen­eral As­sem­bly leg­isla­tive dis­tricts, re­quir­ing that they “con­sist of ad­join­ing ter­ri­tory, be com­pact in form, and of sub­stan­tially equal pop­u­la­tion,” with ad­di­tional con­sid­er­a­tion given to “nat­u­ral bound­aries and the bound­aries of po­lit­i­cal sub­di­vi­sions,” such as county and mu­nic­i­pal lines.

Niemeyer wrote that in the ab­sence of a law reg­u­lat­ing con­gres­sional re­dis­trict­ing, the state gen­er­ally fol­lows the pro­ce­dures for the Gen­eral As­sem­bly leg­isla­tive dis­tricts. He wrote that while those pro­ce­dures were used fol­low­ing the 2010 Cen­sus, the process did not in­clude con­sid­er­a­tions for “con­ti­gu­ity, com­pact­ness, re­gard for nat­u­ral bound­aries, and re­gard for bound­aries of po­lit­i­cal sub­di­vi­sions.”

Three years ago, Ho­gan is­sued an or­der es­tab­lish­ing a Re­dis­trict­ing Re­form Com­mis­sion to com­plete a “com­pre­hen­sive ex­am­i­na­tion of ideas that could en­hance the in­tegrity of Mary­land’s con­gres­sional and leg­isla­tive re­dis­trict­ing pro­cesses” and to rec­om­mend a con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment on re­dis­trict­ing.

U.S. District Court Judge Alexan­der Wil­liams; Wal­ter Ol­son, a se­nior fel­low at the CATO In­sti­tute’s Cen­ter for Con­sti­tu­tional Stud­ies; and League of Women Vot­ers ad­min­is­tra­tor Ash­ley Ole­son served as the co-chair­men of the Re­dis­trict­ing Re­form Com­mis­sion.

On Mon­day, Ho­gan an­nounced their ap­point­ments as co-chair­men of the new Emergency Com­mis­sion on Sixth Con­gres­sional District Ger­ry­man­der­ing, with Wil­liams as the Demo­crat, Ol­son the Re­pub­li­can and Ole­son as the un­af­fil­i­ated mem­ber.

Those in­ter­ested in ap­ply­ing for the open seats on the com­mis­sion are en­cour­aged to visit gover­nor. mar yland.gov/free-and-fair. bal­lot mea­sures this month call­ing for non­par­ti­san re­dis­trict­ing com­mis­sions.

“Mary­land should be lead­ing, but so far we aren’t even fol­low­ing,” Ho­gan said. “The fight for fair­ness, trans­parency, and bi­par­ti­san­ship in our state is not just a typ­i­cal fight be­tween the right and the left — it’s more im­por­tant than that — it is a fight be­tween right and wrong, and it is a fight worth fight­ing.”

In his mo­tion, Frosh wrote that the Supreme Court is ex­pected to ad­dress ger­ry­man­der­ing dur­ing the cur­rent term.

“Any fur­ther guid­ance from the Supreme Court will be im­por­tant to en­sure that, even if this Court’s or­der is af­firmed, state law­mak­ers do not re­draw Mary­land’s elec­toral map for 2020 us­ing a stan­dard that is not the one ul­ti­mately adopted by the Supreme Court. More­over, this Court’s or­der may be re­versed, ei­ther be­cause the Supreme Court finds par­ti­san ger­ry­man­der­ing to be non­jus­ti­cia­ble or be­cause the Supreme Court ap­proves a dif­fer­ent test for par­ti­san ger­ry­man­der­ing claims, which Mary­land’s map may or may not sat­isfy,” Frosh wrote.

Frosh wrote that the dead­line to have a new map in hand for the 2020 elec­tion is Oct. 19, 2019, while the Supreme Court’s cur­rent term ends June 24, 2019.

“If the Supreme Court af­firms this Court’s fi­nal judg­ment, upon is­suance of the Supreme Court’s de­ci­sion, de­fen­dants agree to be­gin im­me­di­ately draft­ing a new map and si­mul­ta­ne­ously to ne­go­ti­ate in good faith with plain­tiffs to reach a mu­tu­ally agreed re­vised schedule for ar­riv­ing at a new map, in the same form as the pro­ce­dure es­tab­lished by the Court’s fi­nal judg­ment,” Frosh wrote.

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