A court panel rejected the challenge to the new congressional maps presented by Oregon Democrats in September, finding no evidence that the plan was the result of illegal gerrymandering.
In a unanimous opinion Wednesday, the five-judge panel rejected an attempt by Republicans to paint the map as partisan hacking work. In agreement with lawyers for the state and a national Democratic group, the judges instead ruled that the plan was in line with the historic plans of Congress and showed no evidence of the overt political game spirit upon which the GOP insisted.
“In the end, the full record of this case establishes that, far from being motivated by a partisan objective, the Legislative Assembly drew up the adopted map on the basis of public input and neutral criteria, which has given a fair map that was not drawn for partisan purposes, ”the panel wrote in its opinion.
The decision is a stinging setback for Republicans who have said they will be at a disadvantage by Congress’ card. But this is not the last word.
Former Republican Secretary of State Bev Clarno and three other challengers have the option of appealing to the Oregon Supreme Court. The state’s high court ruled against similar challenges against Oregon’s new legislative districts earlier this week, ruling that they had passed the legal rally.
According to the six-district congressional map adopted by Democrats in September, two districts should be safe Democrats and two should lean in favor of Democrats. A district is a Republican stronghold that spans much of the state, and a sixth district – spanning the Cascades to connect Portland to Bend – is theoretically a toss-up.
This story will be updated.