WASHINGTON, D.C. — On March 25, a trial court judge permanently blocked Maryland’s newly enacted congressional map drawn with 2020 census data. Republicans filed two lawsuits against the map last December, arguing that it is a partisan gerrymander that “cracks” and “packs” voters across the state, ignoring political boundaries and county lines, in order to favor Democrats and dilute the voting strength of Republicans. In the order today, the judge agreed with the plaintiffs that the map “is an outlier and a product of extreme partisan gerrymandering” in violation of multiple provisions of the Maryland Constitution. Since the map was struck down, the map-drawing process goes back to the General Assembly.
During the trial, the plaintiffs presented experts and witnesses that described the characteristics of the congressional map, which divided the state into seven Democratic districts and one Republican district. While concluding that the map had contiguous districts and equal populations, the judge found that the “substantial deviation from ‘compactness’ as well as the failure to give ‘due regard’ to ‘the boundaries of political subdivisions as required by [the Maryland Constitution], are the bases for the constitutional failings of the” new map. The judge held that the map was drawn “to suppress the voice of Republican voters” and the defendants were not able to produce any compelling evidence to the contrary.