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Federal judges will hear challenge to state reapportionment plan

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A federal lawsuit challenging the state’s reapportionment plan will be heard by a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court.

U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright today issued the order granting the request of the plaintiffs.

At a status conference Monday, "defendants agreed that substantial questions of constitutionality require the convening of a three-judge court," the order states. "Further, from the court’s preliminary review of the complaint and relevant case law, the court finds that the constitutional claims are not insubstantial."

A state legislator and five other registered voters filed a federal lawsuit Friday, challenging the reapportionment plan as unconstitutional.

The suit says the plan violates the Constitution’s equal protection clause by excluding more than 108,000 military members, their families and university students in drawing up boundaries for state legislative districts.

The suit also says even if the exclusions are permissible, the plan does not divide residents equally in the legislative districts.

The lawsuit asks for an injunction preventing the state from implementing the plan and directing the state to come up with another plan that counts the excluded residents.

 

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