State senator files redistricting lawsuit with Oklahoma's high court
BY BARBARA HOBEROCK World Capitol Bureau
Friday, July 08, 2011
7/08/11 at 3:41 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY - Sen. Jim Wilson asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court on Thursday to toss out the state Senate's redistricting plan.
Wilson, D-Tahlequah, said in his lawsuit that the plan violates provisions set out in the Oklahoma Constitution.
He is asking the court to render it void and tell the Redistricting Commission to develop a new set of district maps.
Changes to legislative districts are based on shifts in population as recorded by the U.S. Census.
Lee Slater, an attorney for the Senate who advised the upper chamber on redistricting law, said he had not seen the lawsuit.
He said the Legislature worked very hard to make sure all the redistricting bills were constitutional.
"I am confident this one is," said Slater, who did not work on the Senate redistricting plan.
Wilson's suit alleges that the plan violates constitutional provisions on apportionment in areas such as political units, economic and political interests, and contiguous territory.
While Senate Republicans paid a GOP political consultant nearly $130,000 to help redraw district boundaries, Wilson paid a social scientist between $5,000 and $6,000 to come up with a better plan, said his attorney, Mark Hammons.
The current proposal was drawn with political concerns and was not based on what is best for voters, Hammons said.
"Our constitution recognizes that the very bizarre and arbitrary shape of the districts provides evidence that the districts were drawn for improper purpose and in contravention of constitutional mandates," the lawsuit says.
Named as defendants in the lawsuit are Gov. Mary Fallin; House Speaker Kris Steele, R-Shawnee; Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa; and state Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax.
Original Print Headline: Senator asks court to void redistricting plan
Barbara Hoberock 405-528-2465
Sen. Jim Wilson: He claims that the plan violates the state's constitution.