WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, Feb. 17, a state court denied a request to block Kentucky’s new state House and congressional maps while litigation is ongoing. A group of Kentucky voters and the Kentucky Democratic Party are currently suing over the maps, arguing that they are partisan gerrymanders that favor Republicans and unnecessarily split counties in violation of the Kentucky Constitution. The plaintiffs filed a motion for a preliminary injunction asking the court to block the enacted maps, push back filing deadlines and order the maps adopted in 2013 to be used for the 2022 elections.
In its order yesterday, the state court denied the plaintiffs’ motion after holding that they did not meet the state’s standards for injunctive relief. The court’s main reasoning was that the plaintiffs “failed to timely act and waited to seek a temporary injunction until three (3) days after the filing deadline had passed and candidates had filed based on the districts enacted by HB 2 and SB 3.” Because of this, any injunctive relief regarding the enacted maps — which were used by candidates for the already passed filing deadline — would “upend the status quo.” The court stressed that it was not making a ruling on the merits of the case at this time, only that injunctive relief was not warranted. Yesterday, the court also rejected the defendants’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit and scheduled a hearing on the merits of the case for Tuesday, March 1.