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Panel Hears Challenge To Maryland Redistricting

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Maryland State Sen. C. Anthony Muse (D) holds up an editorial from The Washington Post asserting that minorities would suffer most if a proposed congressional redistricting plan passed. Nine black voters have sued the state over the plan, and a hearing on the suit begins today.
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Maryland State Sen. C. Anthony Muse (D) holds up an editorial from The Washington Post asserting that minorities would suffer most if a proposed congressional redistricting plan passed. Nine black voters have sued the state over the plan, and a hearing on the suit begins today.

Update, 3:00 p.m.: A three-judge panel is considering a challenge to Maryland's congressional redistricting map. On Tuesday afternoon, Jason Torchinsky told the panel Maryland should have three majority-minority congressional districts instead of two.

Torchinsky says the state's General Assembly, which is controlled by Democrats, failed to make minority groups the majority in Congressman Steny Hoyer's district. He claims lawmakers did that in order to protect the high-ranking incumbent from a black challenger.

Dan Friedman, an assistant attorney general defending the map, said Hoyer has run well in the 5th congressional district, which has a large number of black voters. He also says the map was supported by many black lawmakers.

Original Story: A lawsuit opposing Maryland's congressional redistricting map makes its way to federal court in Greenbelt, Md. today. Three judges will make up the panel listening to initial arguments, according to the Associated Press. 

The lawsuit was brought by nine black voters who argue the map approved by the Maryland General Assembly in October dilutes the black vote in the state. The plaintiffs say the map should have included three majority minority congressional districts, instead of only two, because of the growth in the state's minority population. They base that argument on results of the 2010 census.

The new redistricting map, which is widely expected to make for a difficult reelection for Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, was approved by the General Assembly in October during a special session after a series of public meetings around the state. 

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