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San Diego judge appointed to panel that will decide reapportionment lawsuit



U.S. Circuit Judge M. Margaret McKeown of San Diego has been appointed to join U.S. District Judges J. Michael Seabright and Leslie E. Kobayashi to hear a lawsuit filed against the state’s final reapportionment plan.

McKeown was appointed by Judge Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The lawsuit was filed by six voters, including Rep. K. Mark Takai (D, Newtown-Pearl City) and contends that nonresident military members, their dependents and nonresident students were denied their constitutional right to equal protection because the reapportionment plan approved in March was done on a population base that excluded about 108,000 so-called “nonpermanent” residents.

Members of the state Reapportionment Commission have said they did the best they could with the data at hand and in a limited time period after the state Supreme Court invalidated the plan approved last year because it included those nonpermanent residents.

A hearing on a motion for a preliminary injunction was rescheduled for May 18, a week later than originally planned.

An injunction has the potential to place the Aug. 11 primary election in jeopardy. The state Office of Elections already has been working onder a compressed schedule to assign voters to precincts and prepare voter notification cards. The candidate filing deadline is June 5.


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