Redistricting suits reach Missouri Supreme Court

The Missouri Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday in three lawsuits challenging the new boundaries for state Senate and U.S. House districts.

The first suit, brought by Democrats in St. Louis, argued that the Republican-dominated Missouri General Assembly ignored mandates regarding compactness and uniformity of congressional districts to dilute the votes of Democrats.

A second lawsuit challenging the congressional map, brought by Republicans in Kansas City, contended that the districts ignore compactness in order to protect incumbents, specifically 5th District Democrat Emanuel Cleaver.

A third lawsuit challenged the map drawn by a panel of state appellate judges for Missouri’s 34 state Senate districts. The judicial panel released a version of the map on Nov. 30, only to replace it with a second version a week later.

The lawsuit contended the first version of the map violates the Missouri Constitution because it unnecessarily splits counties among multiple districts. It also argued that the panel was allowed to release only one map, making the second map illegal as well.

The court is expected to make a quick decision, as the filing period for this year’s election begins Feb. 28.