Anne Arundel political leaders agreed last night to challenge in federal court a congressional redistricting plan that divides the countyinto four districts.
The county's delegation to the General Assembly approved the bipartisan lawsuit after meeting behind closed doorswith attorneys for more than an hour.
Lawmakers say they are furious that the redistricting plan, adopted Oct. 29 by the legislature, splits established communities betweencongressional districts. They also are concerned that Anne Arundel, the state's fifth-largest subdivision, does not have a majority in any one district and that its interests will be ignored on Capitol Hill.
Leaders of the county's Democratic and Republican state central committees attended last night's meeting and said they will join the legal effort as plaintiffs.
Kim McCoy, chairwoman of the county's Democratic State Central Committee, said: "It's clear that what happened to Anne Arundel County isn't a partisan issue. They've taken awayan entire county's congressional voice."
Laura Green Treffer, chairwoman of the county's Republican State Central Committee, said, "Ideally, we would like to have our district back. Realistically, we would like Anne Arundel County to be the majority in at least one district."
John R. Greiber Jr., an Annapolis attorney representing the delegation, said after the meeting that the suit will attack the constitutionality of the redistricting plan, approved by the legislature Oct. 29.
Greiber said the plan -- which eliminates the congressional seat now held by Democrat Tom McMillen -- serves "no good faith purpose." He said the legislature manipulated district boundaries to create a "safe" seat for Steny H. Hoyer, a ranking Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Hoyer's district was carved up to createa new minority-dominated district around Washington.
Last year, Greiber represented a citizens' tax revolt in its legal battle againstthe county.
Meanwhile, the state lawmakers have until Thursday tosubmit a plan to the Governor's Commission on Redistricting if they want to create a new House of Delegates seat in South County.
The delegation has until then to draft its plan to reorganize the county's four legislative districts using the 1990 Census.
Because the county's population has grown slightly, the county "deserves six-tenthsof a delegate," said Delegate John Gary, R-Millersville.
Gary hasproposed creating single-member district in South County that is dominated by Anne Arundel County.