State redistricting panel defends work amid legal battle

Groups opposing parts of proposed new legislative district maps are living in the past, the Colorado Reapportionment Commission said in its response last week to numerous briefs filed with the Colorado Supreme Court about the maps.

The 11-member panel followed the law as established by statutes and court precedents, particularly a 2002 court opinion about how the reapportionment process should be done, the commission said in its response brief.

The Colorado Supreme Court will hear oral arguments about the maps Wednesday.

Several of the objectors, including a group called Colorado Citizens for Fair Representation, claim the commission did not follow the strict criteria for drawing legislative lines and came up with new maps in the 11th hour that were not subject to public comment or review.

“Third, and most importantly, the commission failed to adhere to the constitutional mandate that counties and cities not be split unless necessary to meet the constitutional equal-population requirements, despite the fact that a variety of alternative maps were presented to the commission demonstrating that such transgressions were wholly avoidable,” the group said in its brief.

While the group was more concerned about city and county splits around the Denver metropolitan area, it also cited splitting San Miguel County between two House districts.

The commission countered that the final Colorado House and Senate maps it sent to the high court for its approval last month were the result of all legal requirements and more than two dozen public hearings that took place around the state during the summer.

“Certain objectors, in particular Colorado Citizens for Fair Representation, would like this court to believe it is back in 2002,” the commission said in its response. “CCFR makes no showing whatsoever of any causal relationship between the commission’s process and the parts of the adopted plan CCFR finds objectionable because there is none. CCFR’s conclusory statements supported by no facts should not be credited by the court.”

The high court received 11 objections and only one brief in support of the maps, which redrew 65 House seats and 35 Senate seats. New maps are required every 10 years after U.S. Census reports are released.


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