On December 2, 2021, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough and an Alaskan voter filed a complaint with the Superior Court of Alaska challenging several districts within the Alaska Redistricting Board's adopted state House redistricting plan as violating the Alaska and U.S. Constitutions. The plaintiffs claims center around the state House districts located within and around the Borough's boundaries, which the plaintiffs assert are all over-populated in violation of the one person, one vote constitutional requirement under the equal protection clauses of the Alaska and U.S. Constitution. Additionally, plaintiffs also assert those districts violate several of the redistricting criteria provided in Alaska Constitution Article VI, Section 6, including compactness, contiguity, and respecting communities of interest and local government boundaries. They are seeking a judicial declaration that the Board's final plan violates the state and federal constitutions and a court order remanding the plan back to the Board for correction of these violations.

On December 14, 2021, the presiding judges of the Alaska Superior Court issued a statewide order consolidating the 5 pending challenges to Alaska's adopted legislative plans and transferring their venue to the Anchorage Superior Court. On February 15, 2022 the Alaska Superior Court issued its ruling rejecting the plaintiffs' claims. The court first held that the challenged districts all complied with the Alaska Constitution's compactness, contiguity, and respect for communities of interest and geographic and political boundaries requirements. Second, the court rejected the one person, one vote challenge to the Borough's districts on the grounds the population deviations were justified by the Board's good-faith balancing of constitutional criteria, not any sort of intentional discrimination. The plaintiffs appealed this decision to the Alaska Supreme Court on March 2, 2022.

On March 25, the Alaska Supreme Court issued its decision affirming the Superior Court's determination that House Districts 29 and 30 did not violate the Alaska Constitution but reversing as to House District 36 on the grounds it was non-compact without adequate justification. The Court also affirmed the Superior Court's finding that Senate District K's pairing of House districts constituted an unconstitutional political gerrymander in violation of the Alaska Constitution's Equal Protection Clause. Having affirmed the invalidation of House District 36 and Senate District K's House district pairings, the Court remanded the plan back to the Alaska Redistricting Board to correct the violations identified.

On April 13, the Alaska Redistricting Board adopted revised state Senate and state House redistricting plans and issued a proclamation certifying the maps as final. Five days later, several plaintiffs in the consolidated cases filed a motion with the superior court to reject the Board's revised proclamation plan for failure to comply with the Alaska Supreme Court's remand order. They assert the new Senate District K pairings still constitute an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander and are asking the court to issue an order adopting instead one of the alternative configurations proposed at one of the Board's remedial plan public hearings.

On May 16, the Superior Court issued an order invalidating the amended redistricting plan as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. The court found that when pairing the House districts to form Senate Districts E and L, the Board acted with improper political intent and deprived the voters of the underlying House districts of their right to an equally powerful vote in violation of the Alaska Constitution's Equal Protection clause. Noting the time constraints given the looming 2022 primary election, the court ordered the Board to implement the proposed remedial plan "Option 2" for interim use in the 2022 elections and remanded the plan back to the Board to remedy the constitutional violations and adopt a new plan for use in the remainder of the decade. The Board appealed this ruling to the Alaska Supreme Court the following day. On May 19, the Alaska Supreme Court granted a stay on the superior court's ruling pending further order of the Court. On May 24, the Alaska Supreme Court affirmed the Superior Court's order requiring the adoption of "Option 2" for interim use in the 2022 elections.

Related Cases: Municipality of Skagway Borough v. Alaska Redistricting Board; City of Valdez v. Alaska Redistricting Board; Calista Corp. v. Alaska Redistricting Board; & Wilson v. Alaska Redistricting Board.


Alaska Superior Court, Third Judicial District at Anchorage - No. 3AN-21-8869CI [formerly in Third Judicial District at Palmer - No. 3PA-21-02397CI]

Alaska Supreme Court - No. S-18303

Alaska Supreme Court - No. S-18332 [together with Nos. S18328, S-18329, S-18330, S-18332]

Alaska Superior Court, Third Judicial District at Anchorage - No. 3AN-21-08869CI [on remand]

Alaska Supreme Court - No. S18419