On October 25, 2021, a group of Oregon voters filed a petition with the Oregon Supreme Court challenging the Legislative Assembly's redistricting process and resulting enacted legislative redistricting plans as violating several state redistricting statutes. Specifically, petitioners assert that the enacted legislative plans violate Oregon Revised Statutes Section 188.010(2), which prohibits districts from being drawn "for the purpose of favoring any political party, incumbent legislator, or other person," because the Legislative Assembly based their new plans primarily on existing district lines, thereby favoring incumbents, and failed to consider non-partisan map proposals or public input on such proposals which allowed them to achieve their intended partisan result. Similarly, petitioners allege that the Legislative Assembly violated the redistricting hearing requirements under Oregon Revised Statutes Section 188.016 by holding only remote meetings and failing to accept public testimony on the legislative plans after they were proposed. The petitioners are seeking a judicial declaration that the state's enacted legislative plans and underlying enactment process violated Oregon law and a court order adopting the plaintiffs' court-submitted "Equitable Map Oregon" redistricting plan.
On November 22, 2021, the Oregon Supreme Court released an opinion ruling in favor of the defendants and upholding the plan on the grounds the plaintiffs failed to sufficiently support their alleged violations. The court explained that the fact the Legislative Assembly based the new plans on existing district lines, standing alone, did not mean they improperly favored incumbents because the state's redistricting criteria and the composition of many areas throughout the state had not substantively changed between the last redistricting cycle and the most recent one. Similarly, the court found that the plaintiffs had not produced legally sufficient evidence to establish that the plans as a whole, or certain districts within them, were drawn for the improper purpose of favoring one political party. Finally, the court rejected the plaintiffs' claims involving violations of hearing and public input requirements because the provisions involved were either specifically exempted from applying to legislative redistricting during this cycle or were sufficiently adhered to.
Related Case: Calderwood v. Oregon Legislative Assembly
Oregon Supreme Court - No. S068991 [together with No. S068989]