Return to News Apr 25, 2022

Kansas Court Strikes Down Unconstitutional Congressional Map

Today, a trial court enjoined the Republican-controlled Kansas Legislature’s new congressional map, concluding that it is an unconstitutional gerrymander that dilutes Democratic and minority voting strength. Elias Law Group attorneys, in partnership with the National Redistricting Foundation, secured a full legal victory.

Concerned Kansas voters joined forces with pro-democracy group Loud Light to fight the Republican gerrymander, which cracks and packs the state’s Democrats and minority voters and disregards neutral redistricting principles. The ruling by Judge Bill Klapper blocks implementation of the unconstitutional map and orders the Legislature to adopt a new plan “as expeditiously as possible.”

In a 200-page decision, Judge Klapper emphasized the importance of a fair congressional map.

“How strong are Kansans? Strong enough to expect nothing more than a level playing field devoid of partisan advantage for one group of Kansans,” Judge Klapper wrote. “This court suggests most Kansans would be appalled to know how the contest has been artificially engineered to give one segment of the political apparatus an unfair and unearned advantage.”

Legislative Republicans enacted the new congressional plan, known as Ad Astra 2, over the veto of Governor Laura Kelly and vigorous opposition from the state’s young and minority voters. Judge Klapper concluded that Ad Astra 2’s unwarranted division of two of the state’s most diverse and Democratic counties intentionally and unconstitutionally diluted the voting power of their residents, including their minority communities. The ruling ensures that Ad Astra 2 will not deny Democratic and minority Kansans an equal voice in the state’s congressional elections.

While the case will now move to the Kansas Supreme Court, the Legislature has been tasked with creating a remedial plan promptly enough for use in the upcoming midterm elections. Judge Klapper will retain jurisdiction over the case until the new map is in effect.

Elias Law Group is proud to represent clients protecting the right to vote and is grateful for the entire team working in Kansas to ensure all Kansans can cast their ballots in fair and lawful districts this November and beyond.

Read the decision here