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Oklahoma Supreme Court upholds redistricting lawsuit dismissal

The state Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that an Oklahoma County Court judge was correct in throwing out a lawsuit that challenged the state Senate's new election districts as being unconstitutional.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: January 18, 2012
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A state senator's challenge to the constitutionality of the state Senate's redistricting plan appears over.

The state Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that an Oklahoma County District Court judge was correct in throwing out the lawsuit filed by Sen. Jim Wilson.

“The district court properly dismissed Senator Wilson's petition because he has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted,” wrote Chief Justice Steven Taylor in the 9-0 decision.

Wilson filed a lawsuit in Oklahoma County District Court and District Judge Lisa Davis ruled in October that the issues raised in Wilson's case had already been decided by the state Supreme Court in another lawsuit he filed earlier last year.

Wilson, D-Tahlequah, said the districts drawn up by the Republican-controlled Senate violated state constitutional requirements. He appealed the district court ruling back to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court ruled in September that the Senate redistricting plan complies with population requirements outlined in the state constitution. However, four justices wrote in a concurrent opinion that claims of gerrymandering could be taken up in district court.

Legislators every 10 years — after census figures are released — redraw the House and Senate district boundaries.

Wilson, who is term-limited and cannot seek re-election, said the redistricting plan focused on making it safe for Republicans to maintain control of the Senate. Republicans gained control of the Senate in 2008 for the first time in state history. The GOP gained control of the House of Representatives after the 2004 elections; last year was the first time legislative redistricting occurred when Republicans controlled both the House and Senate.

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