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Mo. court upholds challenges to redistricting maps; process to start over

The Missouri Supreme Court building in Jefferson City, Mo.
(via Flickr/david_shane)
The Missouri Supreme Court building in Jefferson City, Mo.

Updated 5:21 p.m. with Gov. Nixon asking for nominees for new citizens commission

The Missouri Supreme Court has struck down new state Senate districts and ordered a further legal review of new U.S. House districts.

The rulings Tuesday add fresh uncertainty for the 2012 election year, just weeks before candidates are to begin filing for office.

The Supreme Court rejected new state Senate maps submitted a special panel of judges. That means the redistricting process must start over, with the governor appointing a new, bipartisan citizens commission to draw Senate boundaries.  House Speaker Steven Tilley (R, Perryville) calls the judicial process for drawing the Senate map a "debacle."

“To issue a map, (then) a couple of days later issue another map, I mean, to say that (the six-judge panel) shouldn’t be subject to the Sunshine Law, all these things I think have been an embarrassment," Tilley said. 

The High Court also ruled that a trial judge must consider further legal challenges to the boundaries for Missouri's U.S. House districts, which shrank from nine to eight as a result of the 2010 census. The Supreme Court ordered the trial court to act by Feb. 3.

Now, just hours after the state Supreme Court announced their decision, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is seeking
nominees for the bipartisan commission responsible for drawing new state Senate districts.

Nixon asked the state Republican and Democratic parties on Tuesday to send him their candidates.

Each party will submit 10 nominees for the 10-member commission, and the governor will appoint five Republicans and five Democrats.

If the new commission cannot agree on a new Senate map, responsibility would fall to a panel of state appeals court judges.

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.