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Commissioners Withdraw Redistricting Lawsuit

Three commissioners and three delegates are named in the suit.

The Board of County Commissioners has withdrawn a lawsuit it filed against the state over the legislative redistricting plan.

The lawsuit argued that parts of Carroll County won't be properly represented in the state under Gov. Martin O'Malley's .

According to a statement, the decision to withdraw the lawsuit was made based on the advice of legal counsel and is a direct result of a determination that the county’s suit is not necessary in light of the other legal actions that have been filed.

“For a nominal investment we gave the citizens of Carroll County a seat at the table to fight for the Constitutional principles of one man, one vote and the sanctity of our political boundaries," Commissioner Doug Howard said in a statement.

"Our lawsuit has now proven to be duplicative of the others filed and is therefore no longer necessary. We now stand in strong support of the statewide suit fighting to protect these fundamental interests," Howard said.

The Court of Appeals issued a Motion to Dismiss the lawsuit earlier this month, noting that "the petitioners lack capacity and standing to sue, and the only legal theory asserted in the petition fails to state a valid claim of lack of 'due regard' for political subdivision boundaries, as a matter of law." 

A county news release said, "It is important to note that this withdrawal is not a result of the state’ motion or the unfounded allegations made in the motion."

The suit named three commissioners-Doug Howard, Richard Rothschild and Dave Roush, and three delegates-Susan Krebs, Donald Eliot and Nancy Stocksdale.

The commissioners named in the lawsuit stand by their decision to file, saying in a statement that "the county’s filing was not unusual at all. The petition was both legally and ethically correct."

Commissioner Robin Bartlett-Frazier disagrees.

“Finally wisdom prevails," Frazier said. "As the Attorney General affirmed in the 'Memorandum in Support of Motion to Dismiss the Petition of J. Douglas Howard et al' that taxpayers' dollars should never have been used for a redistricting challenge.”

Kathy June 21, 2012 at 12:13 PM
I have no great affinity for the actions of the Board of Commissioners in many respects, HOWEVER, if they honestly believed that the citizens of Carroll County were being shortchanged by the redistricting, wouldn't they have the legal right to try and do something about it? Maybe they WERE just trying to keep Carroll County Republican (in fact I am sure that is a major consideration) but, even as a Democrat, I do think that the current redistricting DID unfairly link Carroll County to another county with different interests. The redistricting process is always political--when the Republicans are in office they try to redraw to benefit Republicans and when the Democrats are in office they do try to benefit Democrats. I agree that using County funds for this lawsuit was ill-advised, but I don't know if it follows that the Board's actions were 100% political. The party in power is always using citizen funds to promote itself and its agenda, and if they hold an event say, at a new school or community center, they will take the opportunity to say how great they are, but that doesn't make the event 100% political. In short, the Board's actions might have been ethically close to the line, but legally I think they had the right to bring their suit.
Buck Harmon June 21, 2012 at 01:20 PM
What are the different interests between the Counties?...how was that assessed? That seems to be the real point of contention. Are they political differences or governing differences?
John Culleton June 26, 2012 at 10:08 PM
The term gerrymander has a more direct descent from the antics of a governor Gerry of Mass. long ago who drew election districts, one of which resembled a salamander. Check it on google before you speak.
romeo valianti June 27, 2012 at 12:55 AM
John Culletton. I will side with Judy Smith as she is always at the fore fromt of most politicalm or non political subjects, We cant all be experts like you John
John Culleton June 27, 2012 at 02:13 AM
This year we have had three gerrymanders, for the Congress, the house of delegates and the commissioners. It would make more sense for the commissioners to complain if they had not themselves approved the crazy quilt map with the huge district in the North and the peninsula putting Perry Jones in a district that includes Mt. Airy.

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