On March 10, 2021, a Oregon state representative and state senator filed a petition with the Oregon Supreme Court on behalf of the Oregon Legislative Assembly, seeking relief from the state's constitutional redistricting deadlines. Since the release of the 2020 census results, which are necessary for redistricting, was delayed until September 30, 2021, the General Assembly will be unable to draw and enact new legislative redistricting plans by the Oregon Constitution's July 1, 2021 deadline, which ordinarily would result in redistricting authority passing to the Oregon Secretary of State. The petitioners are requesting that, in light of the unprecedented circumstances and delayed receipt of census data, the court issue a preemptory writ of mandamus enjoining the Secretary of State from conducting legislative redistricting until three months after the 2020 census data is released and allowing the Legislative Assembly to conduct reapportionment in an emergency legislative session. Alternatively, they request that the court issue an alternative writ directing the Secretary of State to delay reapportioning legislative districts until three calendar months after the release of the 2020 census data, extending the constitutional deadline for establishing new legislative districts until three months after the 2020 census data is released, and permitting reapportionment to occur in an emergency legislative session. The Oregon Secretary of State opposed the petition for a writ of mandamus.
On April 9, 2021, the Oregon Supreme Court granted the petitioners request for a preemptory writ of mandamus, finding that the delayed census data release would make complying with the constitutional deadlines impossible, and that the court could modify these deadlines without significantly affecting the duties of the Legislature and the Secretary, the rights of electors, or the general election cycle. In the second appendix to the court's en banc opinion, the court laid out two sets of revised deadlines: one for plans enacted by the Legislative Assembly, and one for plans enacted by the Secretary of State. The Legislative Assembly must enact its plan on or before September 27, 2021, the Oregon Supreme Court must approve or reject that plan by November 22, 2021, and if corrections are needed, the Secretary of State must complete those revisions by January 17, 2022. If the Secretary of State has to draw the plans due to the Legislative Assembly missing its deadline, the Secretary's plan must be created by October 18, 2021, the Oregon Supreme Court must approve or reject it by December 13, 2021, and if revisions are needed, the Secretary must make them by January 24, 2022.
Oregon Supreme Court - No. S068364
- Petition for a Preemptory Writ of Mandamus - 3/10/21
- Secretary of State Shemia Fagan's Memorandum in Opposition to Petition for a Preemptory or Alternative Writ of Mandamus - 3/17/21
- Questions from the Court - 3/19/21
- Secretary of State Fagan's Response to the Court's Questions - 3/26/21
- En Banc Opinion - 4/9/21