CASE SUMMARY

On November 17, 2021 Ada County, Idaho filed a petition with the Idaho Supreme Court challenging the Idaho Commission for Reapportionment's adopted legislative plan as violating the Idaho Constitution and state law. Plaintiff alleged the Commission's final legislative plan violated article III, § 5 of the Idaho Constitution, which generally provides that counties can only be split in the formation of legislative districts to the extent it is reasonably necessary in order to comply with the U.S. Constitution. The plaintiff asserted the Commission's final plan unnecessarily divided a total of 8 counties and, in support, cited to the existence of other plan proposals before the Commission that only divided 7 counties while still complying with federal constitutional requirements. Relatedly, plaintiff alleged the Commission's plan also violated several of the redistricting criteria prescribed in Idaho Code § 72-1506 by ignoring traditional neighborhoods, dividing local communities of interest, and dividing Ada County into 3 sections when such was not required. They requested a judicial declaration that the Commission's final plan was unconstitutional and unlawful due to unnecessarily dividing too many counties, a writ of prohibition barring the Secretary of State from transmitting a copy of the Commission's final report and map to state legislative leaders, and for the court to remand this matter back to the Commission for revisions of the final plan to comply with state constitutional and statutory requirements.

On November 23, 2021 the case was consolidated with another challenge to Idaho's adopted legislative plan, Durst v. Idaho Comm'n for Reapportionment. On December 17, 2021 two more cases challenging Idaho's adopted legislative plan were consolidated with these actions.

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.

On May 17, 2022, Ada County filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking an extension of time to file a petition for certiorari regarding the Idaho Supreme Court's decision, which the Court granted on May 19, giving the County until July 14, 2022, to file. Ada County's full petition for a writ of certiorari was filed on July 14.

For all of the filings in this case, see Durst v. Idaho Comm'n for Reapportionment.

Related Cases: Durst v. Idaho Comm'n for Reapportionment; Stucki v. Idaho Comm'n for Reapportionment; Allan v. Idaho Comm'n for Reapportionment;

Similar Case: Pentico v. Idaho Comm'n for Reapportionment

CASE LIBRARY

Idaho Supreme Court - No. 49267-2021 [together with Nos. 49261-2021, 49295-2021, & 49353-2021]

U.S. Supreme Court - No. 22-46 [Formerly No. 21A740, Stay Application]