Three federal judges walked into a Jackson courtroom Friday morning greeted by a room full of attorneys ready to voice concerns and lay out how they believe the state's redistricting debate should be handled.
House apportionment and elections committee Attorney Robert McDuff says the most recent house and senate plans should be used as a temporary fix for upcoming elections, then allow the legislature to try again next year, which is allowed by law, and avoid a special election.
McDuff says, "Unfortunately this happens in a lot of state. There are significant political differences among legislators."
McDuff added, "Let's have one election this year and then have the next election four years from now as required under state law."
Attorney General Jim Hood agreed saying further courtroom battles would leave taxpayers footing the bill. Hood says, "Nobody wants to see them have to run twice. It would be at a minimum of $2.5 dollars for them to run twice and create so much confusion."
Others weren't so welcoming of the idea. Republican Party Attorney Mike Wallace decline to comment outside the courthouse but did tell the judges inside the court should not use plans which were not approved by both the house and senate. At issue is the house plan which failed in the senate multiple times, eventually creating a stalemate. Meanwhile some lawmakers say there's still time to get a redistricting plan done before the June 1, deadline.
Flaggs says, "Anytime we fail in our responsibility should be embarrassing but at the same time I think there's time on the clock and I recommend legislate rather than litigate."
The state was forced into litigation after the NAACP law suit to stop elections from happening under current districts which all parties involved say are unconstitutional and how they'll change is still a remaining question and for some, a concern.
Reynolds says, "Right now we have judges who have not asked for the job that the job is basically being forced on them and that's indeed unfortunate."
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