-Government & Politics - WKMS
4:02 pm
Mon February 6, 2012

Judge Taking More Time to Rule on Legislative Maps

A Kentucky judge is taking more time to decide the future of the state's new legislative district maps.

Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd heard four hours of testimony Monday on whether the plan that redraws state House and Senate districts are constitutional.

Most of the arguments cited past redistricting lawsuits. One of the biggest disagreements was over a previous Kentucky Supreme Court ruling that said district populations must be within five percent of their ideal size. That's about 44,000 people for each House district and 114,000 for each Senate district.

Attorney Sheryl Snyder, arguing for the legislature, said the high court misinterpreted the U.S. Supreme Court when it set the five percent rule.

"Federal benchmark is not plus five percent or minus five percent from the so-called ideal district," Synder said. "Federal benchmark takes the least populous district and most populous district and calculates the overall range from lowest to highest and it's that overall range."

Victor Maddox, who is representing the three House Republicans seeking to throw out the maps, refuted that idea. He argued that the state Supreme Court interpreted federal law correctly and that the merits of his case against the maps was a state issue, not a federal issue.

Shepherd plans to decide on the case tomorrow before the deadline passes for candidates to file to run for office. Shepherd extended the deadline last week, and he says if he can't make a decision tomorrow, he may extend it further.

No matter what Shepherd rules, the case is likely to end up in the Kentucky Supreme Court.