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Mo. Supreme Court hears State House redistricting map lawsuit

Mo. Supreme Court
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)
Mo. Supreme Court

The Missouri Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in a lawsuit challenging the new State House redistricting map.

The map’s opponents raised similar objections as those who’ve challengedthe congressionaland State Senate district mapsdrawn up last year:  Like the Senate map, plaintiffs claimed, in written statements, that the six-judge panel that drew up the House map did so behind closed doors and thus violated the state’s Sunshine law.  Robert Hess, one of the attorneys defending the map, said the panel was not subject to the Sunshine law.

“The Appellate Judicial Commission, they don’t meet the definition of a public governmental body," Hess said.  "They were a judicial body exercising a legislative function, and that’s not something that’s covered by the Sunshine law.”

Plaintiffs also argued that the districts in the State House map fail to meet the state’s compactness requirement.  Attorney Paul Wilson used a proposed Kansas City area district as an example.

“There’s no excuse for the sort of tongue-and-groove approach that was used in the city," Wilson said.  "There’s no excuse for (District) 55 in Cass and southern Jack(son counties)...a large capital “L” that looks like it’s been attacked by termites.”

Hess countered that there is no such thing as a perfect map and that this one is constitutional.

The Missouri Supreme Court will issue its ruling at a later date.  Meanwhile, filing for State House seats and other statewide offices begins Tuesday morning at 8:00 a.m.

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