Redistricting plan struck down by judgeELLICOTT CITY -- A...

IN THE REGION

November 10, 1992|By From Staff Reports

HOWARD COUNTY ELLICOTT CITY — Redistricting plan struck down by judge

ELLICOTT CITY -- A judge has thrown out the Howard County Council's new redistricting plan.

Circuit Judge Cornelius F. Sybert Jr. said the plan for the 1994 election is "constitutionally defective and invalid" and ordered the election board not to implement the plan.

The suit was brought by Republicans David P. Maier of Elkridge and Louis M. Pope of Laurel, who claimed that council redistricting must be accomplished by a bill rather than by a resolution. The council adopted the new boundaries in a resolution passed by a 3-2 vote along party lines Dec. 2, 1991. A bill identical to the resolution had been vetoed by the county executive.

Bills are subject to a public hearing process often lasting a month or more. Resolutions can be completed in one day, as was the council's districting measure.

Roger W. Titus, a Rockville attorney hired by the County Council, argued that since resolutions are used for temporary administrative measures, they are appropriate for a redistricting process that occurs every 10 years.

Judge Sybert was unimpressed. "In the court's opinion, a redistricting plan that would be in effect for a decade is not temporary in character," he said.

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