From today’s Kansas City Star:
A Kansas judge on Monday tossed the state’s Republican-drawn congressional map, finding the Legislature intentionally diluted minority votes in a partisan and political gerrymander that violated the state constitution.
The decision, by Wyandotte County District Court Judge Bill Klapper, is a victory for a group of voters who challenged the map, arguing it violated guarantees of voting rights, equal rights and free speech in the Kansas Constitution.
It’s the first time in Kansas history a state court has ruled against a congressional map. Klapper ordered the Legislature to redraw the map and prohibited officials from conducting elections under the unconstitutional map following a four-day trial earlier this month. But the decision is guaranteed to be appealed to the Kansas Supreme Court — leaving the ultimate fate of the map uncertain.
The Republican-controlled Legislature, overriding the veto of Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly, redrew the state’s four congressional districts to divide Wyandotte County between two districts for the first time in 40 years. It also moved the Democratic-leaning college city of Lawrence out of an at-times competitive 2nd District and into the vast, rural 1st District, where Democratic candidates have little chance of winning.
Klapper, first elected in 2013, found that the map — called Ad Astra 2, a play on the state’s motto — “was motivated at least in part by an intent to dilute minority voting strength.”
Read the complete story here.