Greiber Vows To Continue Redistricting Challenge

Most Of His Clientshave Accepted Defeat

December 29, 1991|By John A. Morris | John A. Morris,Staff writer

An Annapolis lawyer promises to fight the state's new congressional districts down to the last man or woman.

Many county political leaders appeared ready to concede defeat last week after a federal courtrejected the county's bid to block Maryland's March 3 primary elections and redraw the district boundaries.

But attorney John Greiber said he still has at least two clients and will appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"It's not of paramount importance to me what the political people think or whatthey say about public groundswells," said Greiber. "They aren't my clients. You don't see one of their names on the suit. All they did was raise money, and they didn't raise much of that."

State Sen. Michael J. Wagner, D-Ferndale, said Greiber "might have plans (to appealto the Supreme Court), but we don't have plans to pay him. We don't need to take that ride again."

The county's Republican and Democratic parties, as well as five residents, filed suit in U.S. District Court after the Maryland General Assembly eliminated the Anne Arundel seat held by Representative Tom McMillen, D-4th, and split the countyinto four new congressional districts.

A U.S. District Court panel ruled, 2-1, Monday that legislative leaders did not violate residents' constitutional rights when they manipulated district boundaries to protect Representative Steny Hoyer, D-5th, and other incumbents.

"The point is that carving Anne Arundel County into four pieces -- while perhaps enough to raise eyebrows -- does not violate any federalconstitutional provision," U.S. District Judges Frederick N. Smalkinand Frank A. Kaufman wrote.

But in his dissent, Judge Paul V. Niemeyer of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said, "Manipulating district lines, either by unnecessarily pitting incumbents against one another or by enhancing the prospects of one candidate over another, cannot be reconciled with" the U.S. Constitution.

Greiber, buoyed by Niemeyer's opinion, said he has received the "green light" to appeal from two of the plaintiffs, Severna Park resident Robert Schaefferand Edgewater resident Laura Green Treffer.

Treffer, who also is chairwoman of the county Republican State Central Committee, said Friday that she had agreed initially but was reconsidering after she received a $79,000 bill for Greiber's legal services.

Treffer estimated that the bipartisan coalition had raised about $18,000 to finance the initial challenge.

"Ideally, I would like to take this to the top, but, realistically, I can't imagine running up a six-figure tab without knowing where the money will come from," Treffer said.

Greiber said he does not expect to be fully paid: "I've said from the beginning that whatever they raised in a good faith effort I would take. It's not money that's driving my engines."

Sen. Philip C. Jimeno, D-Brooklyn Park, said political leaders will meet with Greiber after New Year's Day before making a final decision.

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