Missouri Impasse Litigation (Berry II)
Berry v. Ashcroft
Lawsuit filed in federal court on behalf of a Republican candidate running for Congress challenging Missouri’s congressional map drawn with 2010 census data following the release of 2020 census data. The plaintiff initially filed an impasse lawsuit in state court, but voluntarily dismissed the case in March. In his federal complaint, the plaintiff outlines Missouri’s failure to adopt a new congressional map based on current population numbers, leaving in place the now-malapportioned congressional map drawn with 2010 census data. Though the candidate filing deadline passed and the state’s primary elections are fast approaching, the plaintiff alleges that the Missouri secretary of state is not allowed to reopen candidate filing or move the primary date. Because of these factors, the lawsuit asks for a three-judge panel to take over the redistricting process to ensure that the a new map that complies with the constitutional principle of one person, one vote is in place.
On July 8, the court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims without prejudice, thereby closing the case. In its order of dismissal, the court noted that the plaintiff failed to file a response to the defendant’s motion to dismiss and asserted that making substantial changes to Missouri’s congressional maps in advance of the Aug. 2 primary is “infeasible and would cause significant confusion for Missouri voters.” Finally, the court’s order stated that while relief ahead of the 2022 congressional primaries is not possible, future litigants may challenge the state’s congressional maps.