Redistricting Plan Foes Face Off In Supreme Court

Attorneys for the state Redistricting Board and for those opposed to the Board’s latest plan faced off in oral arguments Thursday before the Alaska Supreme Court.

Board attorney Michael White argued for the Board’s petition to the court to allow the use of its earliest plan for this year’s election. The March plan has been amended in regard to two Fairbanks area House districts.

An interim plan means the plan selected for the 2012 election.

Justice Dana Fabe asked White why the the Board, in its May petition, has not asked the court to approve its April 5 plan.

White said the need for an interim plan for this year’s election is time sensitive, because of a Monday deadline. The Division of Elections needs to know what new precincts to put in place. But any plan that is used must be approved by the federal Department of Justice and pass a one person one vote rule. The only plan that has DOJ clearance at this time is the Board’s initial plan.

But opposing counsel argued that a plan from 2002 should be used as the “interim” plan.  Fairbanks attorney Michael Waleri and Justice Winfrey.

The Justices said that a number of plans could be considered, if all passed state Constitutional muster, and in two hours of debate a number of alternative plans were mentioned.  The high court has other options, including moving the June first filing deadline for candidates in this year’s election.  A Supreme Court decision could come tomorrow.

The Board has also asked the high court to review a lower court decision in regard to its April 5 redistricting plan, which was rejected by a lower court judge.

Listen for the full story

Download Audio