Supreme Court puts redistricting case on fast track

jbrammer@herald-leader.comFebruary 14, 2012 

FRANKFORT — The Kentucky Supreme Court on Tuesday fast-tracked the appeal of a Franklin Circuit Court ruling that declared Kentucky's newly drawn legislative districts unconstitutional.

The state's highest court said all responses to all motions must be filed with its clerk by noon Friday.

State legislative leaders are appealing Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd's order that requires state election officials to use district lines drawn in 2002 in this year's state legislative elections.

In the appeal, which the Kentucky Court of Appeals transferred Monday to the Supreme Court, legislative leaders argued the districts drawn this year in House Bill 1 adhere to previous U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

The legislative map in HB 1 was challenged by House Republicans and Democratic state Sen. Kathy Stein of Lexington, whose district was moved from inner Lexington to northeastern Kentucky. It is back in Lexington under Shepherd's order.

Stein's attorney, Scott White of Lexington, filed a response Tuesday afternoon to the legislative leaders' appeal. White argued that HB 1 should be void and is unconstitutional.

Also, Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott recused himself Tuesday from considering the case.

Scott said he wanted to avoid any suggestion or appearance of partiality because he is running for re-election from a district that was redrawn in HB 1.

The case has created uncertainty among legislators about the districts they will be running from in this year's elections.

Jack Brammer: (502) 227-1198. Twitter: @BGPolitics. Blog: bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com

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