Legal Suit: Martin Honigberg or Jay Surdukowski, Sulloway & Hollis, (603) 224-2341
Petitioners & Overview: Zandra Rice Hawkins, Granite State Progress (603) 892-2150
Statement on NH Supreme Court Ruling on House Redistricting Plan
CONCORD, NH - The NH Supreme Court today upheld the House redistricting plan that will deny at least 62 communities the full representation they are due.
"We always knew that it would be an uphill battle," said Martin Honigberg, attorney for the suit filed by a group of legislators and community members. "The judges started the case by assuming that the House plan was constitutional, and when in doubt they must favor that position. They didn't rule on whether or not the districts are fair and instead held that the Legislature made trade-offs that they could not question without intervening in the legislative process."
In addition to avoiding commenting on the fairness of the House redistricting plan, the Supreme Court said that even though the alternative redistricting plans that the plaintiffs offered would provide greater representation to communities across the State, they could not be used to overturn the current plan:
"Moreover, "[w]e will not reject a redistricting plan simply because the petitioners have devised one that appears to satisfy constitutional and statutory requirements to a greater degree than the plan approved by the Legislature." - Ruling, Page 6
The NH Supreme Court previously dealt with the fallout of a stalled redistricting process in 2002 that lasted for many years. The ruling discussed that history and hinted at significant hesitation to become involved in the issue a second time.
"We are disappointed in the result but pursuing this case was the right thing to do on behalf of the 375,284 people and 62 communities who were harmed by the House plan," Zandra Rice Hawkins, director of Granite State Progress said. "The House Leadership did everything they could to prevent a fair and open redistricting process. The end result ignored the overwhelmingly popular 2006 constitutional amendment and left many communities without adequate representation."
"We look forward to the next legislative session, where we hope to find interest to establish a non-partisan redistricting commission that can better represent the interests of New Hampshire voters," Rice Hawkins said.
NOTE: Map images illustrating the various redistricting plan alternatives that were offered as evidence are available for media use.
Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems.