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Supreme Court grants emergency stay of Oregon redistricting ballot measure
Photo credit: Stephanie Sundier
Supreme Court grants emergency stay of Oregon redistricting ballot measure

The US Supreme Court issued an emergency order Tuesday staying a district court order granting preliminary injunctions in an Oregon redistricting ballot measure. The ballot measure could drastically alter how Oregon draws its legislative and congressional districts.

The “People Not Politicians” ballot campaign sought to place an initiative on voters’ ballots that would place a non-partisan commission in charge of legislative and congressional redistricting. In July ballot campaign leaders argued that they faced an undue burden because of the current pandemic to collect enough signatures by the July deadline to get the measure on the November ballot.

In response, US District Court for the District of Oregon Judge Michael McShane ruled that the group should have more time and would need fewer signatures to qualify, ordering Oregon Secretary of State Bev Clarno either to place the measure on the ballot or give the group more time and a lower signature threshold.

On July 14 Clarno announced that she would extend the deadline and lower to signature threshold to 59,000 instead of the regularly-required 150,000.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum appealed the ruling, and the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit refused to issue an emergency stay on the order. Rosenblum then appealed directly to US Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan to issue an emergency stay.

The emergency order issued on Tuesday stayed the district court’s July 10 and July 13 orders granting preliminary injunctions, pending disposition of the appeal in the Ninth Circuit and the disposition of a petition for a writ of certiorari, if that writ is timely sought.