Judge Upholds Controversial Redistricting Panel
A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has rejected the county’s claims that a new law creating a 14-member redistricting panel for L.A. County is unconstitutional. Judge Amy D. Hogue ruled Monday that Senate Bill 958, which was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2016, “seeks to create an impartial independent commission” and does not seek to “impose a particular political viewpoint.”
L.A. County filed a lawsuit aimed at stopping implementation of Senate Bill 958 last year. The county argued that it discriminated against independent voters by all but assuring a Democratic-led citizens panel, injecting partisanship into what has historically been a non-partisan body. That’s because Senate Bill 958 calls for the panel to reflect the political makeup of voters in L.A. County which, as of the last census, comprised 51.5 percent Democrats. The county also argued that the law unfairly singled out L.A.
In light of Monday’s ruling, Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), who authored the bill, urged the county to drop its legal challenge. But at least one legal expert says the plaintiffs have a good chance of succeeding on appeal. Because Asians make up the bulk of politically unaffiliated voters, redistricting expert Alan Clayton believes L.A. County has a case to make that Senate Bill 958 would unfairly and dispraportionately impact Asian Americans.