Court orders congressional redistricting in line with Dems' plan
Published 12:34 pm, Saturday, February 11, 2012
HARTFORD -- The state Supreme Court on Friday ruled in favor of majority Democrats in the General Assembly, approving a new congressional map for the state that will be in effect until after the 2020 Census.
Republican lawmakers expressed disappointment at the loss.
Friday's short, eight-sentence order followed an hour-long hearing Feb. 6 before the high court. Justices had taken turns poking holes in the Republican argument that the issue be reviewed again and that New Britain should be moved from the 5th Congressional District into the Hartford-centric 1st District.
Democrats said the map -- prepared by Columbia University Professor Nathaniel Persily, slightly altering their original proposal to the former bipartisan Reapportionment Commission -- is a fair breakdown of the state's five congressional districts.
The new map, which takes effect in time for the 2012 congressional races, moves a small portion of Shelton that had been in the 3rd Congressional District back into the 4th District.
Senate Majority Leader Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, a member of the former Reapportionment Commission, told reporters in the Capitol on Friday that Republican proposals had aimed at drastically changing the political landscape that has prevailed since the state lost a congressional seat in the 2000 Census.
"What the court has ordered is something that we believe was the reasonable approach from the very beginning and pretty much reflects the map that we presented to the Republicans way back on Nov. 10 during the redistricting commission process," Looney said. "We never got a response to that proposal until Nov. 28, two days before the deadline."
That GOP proposal included moving Bridgeport from the 4th District to the New Haven-based 3rd District; Danbury into the 4th District from the 5th; as well as New Britain into the 1st District. The proposed Bridgeport and Danbury shifts were later dropped.
"The Supreme Court's adoption of the congressional reapportionment plan comes as no surprise," said House Minority Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr,, R-Norwalk, "given the previous instructions it gave to the special master to pursue a minimalist approach that comported with the Democrats' request.
"We continue to believe that our proposal to undo the gerrymandering that took place a decade ago, particularly with respect to the 5th Congressional District, was reasonable and responsible," Cafero said.
The court also presented the legislature with a bill for $36,400 to pay Persily.