Colorado Supreme Court Approves New Congressional Redistricting Map
Denver: WTO lawyers Fred Yarger and Meghan Berglind successfully defended Colorado’s congressional redistricting map before the Colorado Supreme Court. Following oral arguments held on October 12, the Court unanimously approved the newly formed, nonpartisan, Colorado Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission’s map of the state’s eight U.S. House districts.
“It was a tremendous honor to represent the Commission over the past six months,” said WTO Partner Fred Yarger, who argued for the Commission twice in the Colorado Supreme Court, including last month. “As the Court said in its opinion, this was a watershed year for redistricting. A group of ordinary voters from across the state and political spectrum came together to draw congressional district lines. For the first time in 40 years, the redistricting process was not the product of litigation or politics, but of good-faith debate and compromise by ordinary Coloradans.”
In 2018, Colorado voters placed the congressional redistricting process in the hands of non-politician Colorado citizens, known as the Colorado Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission. This is a new model for the state to reduce partisan gerrymandering.
The Commission’s redistricting map will govern the next 10 years of congressional elections. State law requires the Colorado Supreme Court to review and approve the Commission’s map to ensure its constitutionality.
Delays in the 2020 Census compressed the Commission’s work schedule and the Court’s review, making judicial review uniquely challenging this year. The WTO team had only seven days to prepare a brief defending the Commission’s map. The team then had only three days to respond to 13 separate briefs filed by outside interest groups—both in support of and against the plan—and to prepare for oral argument.
“It was fast and furious,” Yarger said. “I was grateful for our legal team and for the Commission’s non-partisan staff, who have decades of experience navigating the redistricting process. It was a true team effort.”
WTO teamed up with Jerome DeHerrera at Achieve Law Group and Misha Tseytlin at Troutman Pepper to represent the Commission. The result represents a major victory for the newly formed Commission and marks the beginning of a new era for Colorado’s congressional redistricting process.
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