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Supreme Court upholds Hawaii redistricting plan

The US Supreme Court [official website] on Tuesday affirmed [order, PDF] the case of Kostick v. Nago without issuing an opinion, upholding the Hawaii state legislature's redistricting plan. The case was on appeal from the US District Court for the District of Hawaii [official website], which ruled [opinion] in favor of the redistricting plan. The plan's opponents claimed the state failed to properly account for many of its residents in its redistricting efforts. In the decision of the District Court, Circuit Judge M. Margaret McKeown held that the plan's challengers not only failed to satisfy the requirements for a preliminary injunction, stating that the decision to enjoin an impending election is so serious that the Supreme Court has allowed elections to go forward even in the face of an undisputed constitutional violation, but that relief under their mal-apportionment claim was impossible, and was therefore unable to be granted.

Under the state's 2012 Reapportionment Plan, the Reapportionment Commission extracted tens of thousands of military personnel, dependents and students from the 2010 Census population of "usual residents." Voters challenging the plan claimed that the extraction wrongfully excluded [Huffington Post report] these individuals, resulting in an unfair and significant shift in the voting rolls. The deviation was motivated mostly by the Commission's desire the eliminate "canoe districts," a phrase used to describe [SCOTUSblog report] districts that included people from more than one island.

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