On December 1, 2021, an Idaho voter filed a petition with the Idaho Supreme Court challenging the Idaho Commission for Reapportionment's adopted legislative plan as violating the redistricting provisions codified in the Idaho Constitution and state law. Specifically, the petitioner alleged the Commission failed to give "equal consideration" to the needs and input of counties, districts, and voters across the state by adopting their final plan without adequate time for public feedback and by ignoring testimony in support of submitted plans which split nine counties, as opposed to eight in the adopted plan. Petitioner argued the state's redistricting criteria providing that county lines must be maintained "to the extent possible" did not prohibit a plan with nine county splits, particularly when such a plan would better serve Idaho's other criteria, including the linking of districts by major roads and avoiding splits of precincts and communities of interest. The petitioner sought a judicial declaration that the adopted legislative plan failed to meet the needs of counties and voters across the state and that the Idaho Constitution's equal population and county boundaries redistricting requirements would not be not violated by a plan that contains nine county splits, along with a court order requiring the commission to make appropriate revisions to the plan to remedy these issues, including consideration of the petitioners' own submitted plans.
On December 17, 2021 the Idaho Supreme Court issued an order consolidating this case with three other pending challenges to Idaho's adopted legislative plan.
On January 27, 2022 the Idaho Supreme Court issued its opinion upholding the commission's final legislative plan as valid. The Court first reinterpreted article III, § 5 in the context of Idaho's modern redistricting process as imposing a "reasonably determined" standard on the Commission's determinations as to which counties must be divided to comply with the U.S. Constitution's equal population requirements. The Court found the adopted plan met this standard on the grounds the Commission's report adequately explained how the adopted plan better achieved equal population goals than the alternative plans before it, particularly its finding that the alternative plans underpopulated northern Idaho at the expense of the rest of the state and only achieved a "presumptively constitutional maximum population deviation" using "arbitrary boundary lines." Finally, the Court held the plan also complied with the redistricting criteria provided in Idaho Code § 72-1506, finding the Commission's balancing of these considerations to be reasonable.
For all filings in this case, see the litigation page for Durst v. Idaho Comm'n for Reapportionment.
Similar Case: Pentico v. Idaho Comm'n for Reapportionment
Idaho Supreme Court - No. 49295-2021 [together with Nos. 49621-2021, 49267-2021, & 49353-2021]
- Petition - 12/1/21
- Order Conditionally Dismissing Petition Challenging Adopted Redistricting Plan L03 Pending Filing of Verified Petition - 12/2/21
- Verified Petition - 12/8/21
- Order Withdrawing Conditional Dismissal and Reinstating Action - 12/9/21
- Brief Challenging Adopted Redistricting Plan L03 - 12/9/21
- Order to Consolidate and Set Briefing Schedule - 12/17/21
- Opinion - 1/27/22