New Mexico’s Republican Party takes the state’s congressional map to trial

The Republican Party in New Mexico is taking the state’s Democratic lawmakers to court over alleged illegal district boundaries.

The trial begins: A three-day trial over New Mexico’s congressional map begins on Wednesday, accusing Democratic lawmakers of crafting illegal district boundaries.
* State Republicans argue that the Democrat-controlled Legislature diluted GOP votes by splitting the conservative southeastern corner of the state into three districts.
* The trial precedes a likely rematch in the 2024 election between Democrat Rep. Gabe Vasquez and Republican incumbent Yvette Herrell.

Gerrymandering allegations: The court will determine whether the redistricting done by Democrats qualifies as “egregious” gerrymandering.
* The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled in January that some partisan gerrymandering is acceptable under the state and US Constitution if it’s not “egregious”, without stating whether the current map is constitutional.
* Lower court will decide on the extent of acceptability of the gerrymandering.

Legal Arguments: The determination of lawmakers’ intent has been a point of contention.
* The plaintiffs subpoenaed various current and former state legislators for depositions, but Democratic defendants argued for a protective order, claiming legislative privilege.
* Judge Van Soelen ruled that legislative privilege “cannot be held as absolute”, thus lawmakers can testify about their intentions without discussing the legislative process.

What’s next: The bench trial is expected to last through Friday, with the court having until Oct. 6 to resolve the case.

View original article on NPR

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