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Redistricting Decision

Redistricting Decision

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Published by Circuit Media

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Published by: Circuit Media on Nov 11, 2011
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DISTRICT COURT, CITY AND COUNTY OFDENVER, STATE OF COLORADO1437 Bannock Street, Room 256Denver, Colorado 80202Court Tel.: (720) 865-8301Plaintiffs:
DOMINICK MORENO;
 
CHRISTINE LELAIT; WILLIAM N. PATTERSON; RITAMAHONEY; MICHAEL BOWMAN; JON GOLDIN-DUBOIS;
and
MIKEL WHITNEY,
 Plaintiffs:
KATHRYN H. HALL; DANNY E.STROUD; DICK R. MURPHY, Ph.D.; MARK D.HILLMAN; WAYNE W. WILLIAMS, MARK BAISLEY;
and
SHIRLEY J. SEITZ;
Plaintiffs-in-Intervention:
COLORADO LATINOFORUM, a Colorado nonprofit corporation;COLORADO HISPANIC BAR ASSOCIATION, aColorado nonprofit corporation; BILL THIEBAUT;BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF THECOUNTY OF DOUGLAS, STATE OF COLORADO,a body politic and corporate; THE CITY OFAURORA;
and
MAYOR EDWARD J. TAUER, in hisofficial capacity as Mayor of the City of Aurora
v.Defendant:
SCOTT GESSLER, in his official capacityas Secretary of State of the State of Colorado
COURT USE ONLY
 
Case Number: 11CV3461(consolidated with: 11CV3463)Division/Courtroom: 209
ORDER 
 
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1
I. INTRODUCTION AND BACKROUND
This matter comes before the Court on the claims filed by two groups of Plaintiffs.Plaintiffs Dominick Moreno, Christine Le Lait, William N. Patterson, Rita Mahoney, RogerClark, Kristi Matsunaka and Mikel Whitney (“the Moreno Plaintiffs”) filed a Complaint forDeclaratory, Injunctive and other Relief. Plaintiffs Kathryn E. Hall, Danny E. Stroud, Dick R.Murphy, Ph.D., Mark D. Hillman, Wayne W. Williams, Mark Baisley and Shirley Seitz (“theHall Plaintiffs”) also filed a Complaint for Declaratory Relief.All Plaintiffs challenge the current congressional districts as violative of the one person,one vote principle based on changes to the Colorado population as reflected by the April 2010census. In addition to the Moreno and Hall Plaintiffs, Douglas County, the City of Aurora, theColorado Latino Forum and Hispanic Bar Association and Bill Thiebault have intervened.Several other entities have filed
amicus
briefs. All parties have requested that this Court drawnew congressional district lines in order to insure that the congressional districts are legallydrawn.Once the country’s decennial census has been completed, state legislatures are chargedwith correcting malapportionment among their assigned Congressional districts, a task that isdesigned to account for both the growth and relative shift in national and statewide population.The results of the 2010 census did not produce a change in the number of Colorado’s seats in theU.S. House of Representatives, but the growth rates in the state’s population was uneven amongthe seven Congressional districts, requiring that their boundaries be redrawn. In 2011, theColorado General Assembly failed to fulfill its Constitutional obligation to enact legislation tocorrect this malapportionment of districts, 2 U.S.C. § 2c; Colo. Const., art. V, § 44, and after
 
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2lawsuits were filed by the Moreno and Hall Plaintiffs, this Court was obligated to establish newdistrict lines.Any redrawing of district lines must meet the constitutional criteria of numerical equalityof population among Colorado’s seven districts in compliance with the one person/one voteprecept and must further comply with Section 2 of the federal Voting Rights Act to preventinvidious racial discrimination. C.R.S. § 2-1-201(1)(a).There are also a number of non-constitutional criteria to consider and utilize, includingbut not limited to; the preservation of political subdivisions such as counties, cities, and towns aswell as communities of interest (including ethnic, cultural, economic, trade area, geographic anddemographic factors), the compactness of each congressional district and the minimization of disruption of prior district lines. C.R.S. §2-1-102(1)(b).In Colorado, there is a history of courts drawing Congressional district maps when theGeneral Assembly does not enact legislation establishing new districts after a decennial census.
See Carstens v. Lamm
, 543 F. Supp. 68 (D. Colo. 1982);
 Avalos v. Davidson
, No. 01 CV 2897,2002 WL 1895406 (Colo. Dist. Ct. Jan. 25, 2002), affirmed sub nom.
 Beauprez v. Avalos
, 42P.3d 642 (Colo. 2002). This case adds to that history.This Court has labored for nearly three decades to avoid any suggestion of personalobservation in rulings, opinions and orders. The instant matter is so unlike other judicialdeterminations, that it merits at least an initial note of reflection. While it is easy to blame thelegislature for leaving this matter to the courts to decide, that initial impression is flawed. Thisprocess is so difficult and fraught with such a variety of divergent interests, it is small wonderthat consensus was elusive. Laying political considerations aside, the depth and variety of local

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