The Alaska Supreme Court has ordered the state Redistricting Board to redraw its proposed map of legislative boundaries.
A day after hearing oral arguments in the case, the Supreme Court issued its order late this afternoon (Wednesday).
The Justices point to an earlier case, Hickel v. Southeast Conference, in which the Court ruled that while the federal Voting Rights Act takes precedence over the Alaska Constitution, it should not be given so much weight that the constitution is “unnecessarily compromised.”
The order directs the board to make sure the plan first meets the requirements of the constitution, and only deviates when absolutely necessary to conform to the Voting Rights Act.
The Supreme Court also commends the Redistricting Board and Fairbanks Superior Court Judge Michael McConahy for their hard work on the issue. McConahy ordered the board to redraw four proposed House districts, after the plan was challenged by a pair of Fairbanks residents. Three of the districts he ordered redrawn include parts of the Fairbanks North Star Borough. The other is in western Alaska, and includes Bethel as well as the western Aleutian Islands.
To read the Supreme Court’s order, click here.
- Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg heard oral arguments in a lawsuit on the issue. He said he’ll try to reach a decision as quickly as he can.
- Walker said he has spoken several times with U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, whose vote could help determine the bill’s fate.
- State transportation crews are removing political campaign signs along state rights-of-way. Alaska law largely forbids signs anywhere visible from the roadway.
- The University of Alaska is offering up 400 acres of its Haines-area land for timber harvest. The timing of the university’s decision was motivated by a conversation happening at the local level. The Haines Planning Commission is considering whether to restrict resource extraction in the Mud Bay area.