On December 15, 2021 an Idaho voter filed a petition with the Idaho Supreme Court challenging the Idaho Commission for Reapportionment's adopted congressional plan as violating state statutory redistricting provisions. First, plaintiff alleged the Commission violated Idaho Code § 72-1508, which requires the Commission to file its final report within 90 days of the Commission's organization, on the grounds the Secretary of State's order forming the Commission was issued on August 12, 2021, thereby making the 90 day period end on November 10, 2021, however the Commission did not file its final report until November 12, 2021. Next, plaintiff alleged the Commission's congressional plan violated Idaho Code § 72-1506(7), which generally provides that district boundaries must retain local voting precinct boundaries and that the Commission may vote to exempt this provision's application if it determines that "it cannot complete its duties for a legislative district by fully complying with the provisions of this subsection[.]" The plaintiff asserted the Commission's adopted congressional plan, which split a precinct, violated this statute because its exemption provision explicitly only refers to, and therefore only applies to, legislative districts, not congressional districts. He sought a judicial declaration that the congressional plan was unlawful and a court order remanding the plan back to the Commission to correct the statutory violations.
On February 11, 2022 the Idaho Supreme Court issued its ruling rejecting the petitioners' claims and upholding the congressional plan. The Court first held the Commission's 90 day period did not begin on the day of the Secretary of State's order but rather commenced on September 1, 2021 when the Commission elected its co-chairs, and therefore the Commission's final report was filed by the statutory deadline. Second, the Court held the statutory exemption from the prohibition on splitting voting precinct boundaries applied to both congressional and legislative redistricting and the plaintiff failed to establish that the Commission's determination as to the necessity of splitting precinct boundaries to comply with other redistricting criteria was unsupported.
Idaho Supreme Court - No. 49351-2021
- Petition - 12/15/21
- Scheduling Order - 12/17/21
- Respondents Idaho Commission for Reapportionment and Lawrence Denney's Response to Petitioner Christopher Pentico - 1/6/22
- Petitioner's Reply Brief - 1/13/22
- Opinion - 2/11/22