CASE SUMMARY

On March 31, 2022 a group of New Hampshire voters filed a lawsuit against New Hampshire's Secretary of State challenging the state's current congressional plan as violating both the New Hampshire and U.S. Constitutions. The plaintiffs allege the state's current plan, which was enacted following the 2010 Census, has become unconstitutionally malapportioned due to population shifts in violation of the one person, one vote requirement under Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution and the New Hampshire Constitution's Free and Equal Elections Clause (pt. I, art. II) and Equal Protection provisions (pt. I, arts. 1, 10, 12). They are seeking a judicial declaration that the 2010-cycle congressional plan is unconstitutional, a preliminary and permanent injunction barring the plan from being used in future elections, and for the court to establish a schedule enabling the court to adopt a new plan if the state's political branches fail to do so.

On April 11, 2022 the New Hampshire Supreme Court issued an order assuming jurisdiction over the case, citing the parties' and public's need for a speedy determination of the issues in this case. On May 12, the Court issued an opinion striking down the 2010-cycle congressional plan as unconstitutionally malapportioned and finding that the demonstrated legislative impasse warranted the Court's involvement to ensure a properly apportioned congressional plan will be in place by June 1, 2022, to ensure the candidate filing period can proceed as scheduled. The Court explained it would take a "least changes" approach in devising its congressional plan and would not take into account political considerations, noting the limited nature of the court's role given that reapportionment is primary a legislative function. The Court also explicitly stated that its involvement did not preclude the General Court from enacting a congressional plan on its own by May 26, 2022, the final day for legislative action in this year's session, or by the end of a special legislative session if one is so called. The Court appointed Nathaniel Persily to serve as its special master and established a May 27 deadline for the special master's report and recommended congressional redistricting plan.

CASE LIBRARY

New Hampshire Superior Court, Hillsborough, Southern District - No. 226-2022-CV-00126

New Hampshire Supreme Court - No. 2022-0184