Kentucky Supreme Court reviews state’s Republican-drawn legislative, congressional maps

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky Democrats took their legal fight to the state’s highest court on Tuesday in challenging Republican-drawn boundaries for state House and congressional districts.

The hearing before Kentucky’s Supreme Court at times revolved around a lower court ruling that the new maps did not violate the state constitution. Franklin County Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate concluded that the new boundaries amounted to “partisan gerrymanders,” but said the constitution “does not explicitly forbid the consideration of partisan interests in apportioning representation.”

Supreme Court Justice Kelly Thompson said that issue looms as “the crux of this matter” as the high court reviews the redistricting case. Thompson pointedly asked an attorney for the Democrats whether the court had ever invalidated newly drawn districts based solely on the grounds of gerrymandering.

“Not yet,” replied the attorney, Michael Abate. “This court has not done so.”

Abate said the case boils down to whether the court has a role in reviewing partisan gerrymandering.

“This court understands the power given to the Legislature to draw the maps,” he said. “But this court is given the power to evaluate the maps and to see if they comport with the constitution.”

In defending the maps drawn by the Republican-led Legislature, Deputy Attorney General Victor

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