Idaho Dispatch

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Idaho Supreme Court Upholds New Legislative Map

By • January 27, 2022

The Idaho Supreme Court has upheld the newly drawn legislative district maps by dismissing several legal challenges.

With Idaho’s large increase in population over the last ten years, the legislative map looks far different than it did before. You can view the map using the link here, showing where current legislators are in the new districts. The Idaho Freedom Foundation put the map together.

According to a summary from the Idaho Supreme Court, the consensus among the judges regarding the challenges to the map was as follows:

This case arises out of multiple petitions challenging the constitutionality of Plan L03, the legislative redistricting plan adopted by the Idaho Commission for Reapportionment (“the Commission”). Pursuant to Article III, Section 2 of the Idaho Constitution, the six-member bipartisan Commission was tasked with creating 35 new legislative districts after the 2020 federal census. These districts, collectively referred to as a “plan,” must conform to the requirements set forth by the U.S. Constitution, the Idaho Constitution, and Idaho statutes. Branden Durst, Ada County, Spencer Stucki, Chief J. Allan (Chairman of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe), Devon Boyer (Chairman of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes), and Canyon County (collectively “Petitioners”) petitioned the Idaho Supreme Court to issue a writ of prohibition to restrain the Secretary of State from transmitting a copy of the Commission’s Final Report and Plan L03 to the President Pro Tempore of the Idaho Senate and the Speaker of the Idaho House of Representatives. Petitioners generally argued that Plan L03 split more counties than was required to comport with federal constitutional requirements, rendering Plan L03 unconstitutional under the Idaho Constitution and that Plan L03 violated Idaho law (Idaho Code section 72-1506) by not adequately preserving “traditional neighborhoods and local communities of interest.”

The Idaho Supreme Court held that the Petitioners failed to establish that the Commission “unreasonably determined” that eight county splits were necessary to comport with the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The Court further held that Petitioners had failed to show Plan L03 violated Idaho Code section 72-1506. Accordingly, the Court denied the Petitioners’ requests to issue a writ of prohibition barring implementation of the Commission’s Plan L03.

***This summary constitutes no part of the Court’s opinion. It has been prepared by court staff for the convenience of the public.**

Idaho Dispatch reached out to Branden Durst, who was one of the challengers to the new map, and asked for his reaction to the decision by the ISC. Here is what Durst told Idaho Dispatch,

In denying the challenge, the Court took an activist approach to adjudication. They decided they knew better than their predecessors and tossed out the two previous decisions on this matter. Every Idahoan should be concerned with how willingly these judicial activists were to ignore the principle of stare decisis.

With the new maps in place, current legislators will have to decide to run in their new districts or retire from office. Some legislators have already announced their intentions to run or retire before the ISC ruling in anticipation that the new map would be upheld.

Idaho Dispatch is working on another article that will discuss which current legislators are now in the same district based on the new map.

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Tags: Branden Durst, Idaho Legislative Map, Idaho Supreme Court

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