In Gerrymandering Case, Mississippi Governor Challenges Order to Redraw Map
By Bobby Harrison
Oral arguments have been scheduled for the week of June 10 by a three judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the lawsuit over whether the 102-mile Mississippi Senate District 22 should be redrawn to strengthen black voting power before elections later this year.
The oral arguments were scheduled after Gov. Phil Bryant and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann appealed a ruling by U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves of the Southern District of Mississippi and affirmed by a three judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals saying District 22 should be redrawn.
Bryant and Hosemann are asking the full 5th Circuit to hear the case. The oral arguments will be before another three judge panel. Whether the full court of appeals could or would take the case before the scheduled oral arguments is not clear.
Hosemann and Bryant argue that the District 22 lawsuit, which was brought in 2018, was filed too late.
“There is no question that if the suit had been brought in 2015 when all the facts necessary to plaintiffs were known, orderly review and orderly deliberation could have taken place,” they argue in court filings.
The only election under the current legislative redistricting plan, which was approved by the Legislature in 2012, took place in 2015. The second election will take place later this year and then the Legislature will be mandated by federal law to redistrict again, based on the 2020 U.S. Census, before the 2023 elections.