Kansas Supreme Court Decisions, June 21, 2022

21 Jun 2022 10:11 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)

Appeal No. 125,092: Faith Rivera et al., Tom Alonzo et al., and Susan Frick et al., v. Scott Schwab, Kansas Secretary of State, in His Official Capacity, and Michael Abbott, Wyandotte County Election Commissioner, in His Official Capacity, and Jamie Shew, Douglas County Clerk, in His Official Capacity.

Appeal No. 125,092 archived oral argument

Reversing the district court’s ruling that Substitute for Senate Bill 355 (Ad Astra 2) was unconstitutional under the Kansas Constitution. Justice Stegall, writing for a majority of the Kansas Supreme Court, held that partisan gerrymandering claims were nonjusticiable under section 2 of the Kansas Constitution. The court also held that Ad Astra 2 was not a product of racial gerrymandering, because the Plaintiffs did not establish that race was the predominant factor used by the Legislature in redistricting decisions. Lastly, the court held that the Plaintiffs did not establish a claim of constitutional vote dilution because they failed to present evidence that the minority group is sufficiently large and geographically compact to constitute a majority in a single member district.

Justice Biles, joined by Justice Rosen and Justice Standridge, concurred in part, and dissented in part. These three justices would have affirmed the district court and concluded Ad Astra 2 violates the Kansas Constitution, though providing a different rationale than the district court. Justice Rosen wrote separately to explain why the equal protection guarantees in section 2 of the Kansas Bill of Rights provide broader protections than those in the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Documents filed in this case are at www.kscourts.org/125092/Congressional-districts.

Original Action No. 125,083: In the Matter of the Petition of Derek Schmidt, Attorney General to Determine the Validity of Substitute for Senate Bill 563, holding the Legislature’s reapportionment of state senatorial and representative districts to be valid.

No. 125,083 archived oral argument

Article 10, section 1 of the Kansas Constitution requires the Kansas Supreme Court to review state reapportionment legislation for compliance with state and federal law. Justice Stegall, writing for the unanimous court, found that the Legislature followed the correct procedure laid out by the Kansas Constitution in enacting the maps. It also concluded that the maps were substantively valid because they did not contain any constitutional errors and they complied with the requirements of the federal Voting Rights Act.

Documents filed in this case are at www.kscourts.org/125083/Reapportionment.

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