Hawaii redistricting headed to court

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December 11, 2012


By Jennifer Springer

HONOLULU, Hawaii: A lawsuit over the 2011 drawing of political districts that resulted in the island of Hawaii getting a fourth state senator will be heard in January in U.S. District Court.[1] Hawaii Island, with a 24.5 percent population increase, is the fastest-growing island in the state.[2]

The case was brought by an Oahu group that includes three veterans and state representative K. Mark Takai.[2] The plaintiffs argued that the Reapportionment Commission violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution when it removed nonresident military and students from population counts that determined district lines.[1][2]

A three-judge federal panel is scheduled to hear motions from the plaintiffs and the state at 10 a.m. January 14 in Honolulu.[1]

Although it’s too late to affect state legislative districts for the 2012 election, if the lawsuit is successful the court could require the state to redraw the boundaries before the 2016 elections.[2]

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