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High Court upholds W.Va. redistricting

  |   Sept. 25, 2012 at 11:11 AM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday upheld the West Virginia Legislature's redistricting map that helps the state's three U.S. House incumbents.

The unsigned, or "per curiam," opinion reverses a three-judge federal panel that struck down the plan and told the state not to implement it.

The high court said the panel misapplied Supreme Court precedent "and failed to afford appropriate deference to West Virginia's reasonable exercise of its political judgment."

In 1964, the opinion said, "we held that (constitutional commands) require that 'as nearly as is practicable one man's vote in a congressional election is to be worth as much as another's.' ... We have since explained that the 'as nearly as is practicable' standard does not require that congressional districts be drawn with 'precise mathematical equality,' but instead that the state justify population differences between districts that could have been avoided by 'a good faith effort to achieve absolute equality.'"

The redistricting plan eventually approved by the Legislature "does not split county lines, redistrict incumbents into the same district or require dramatic shifts in the population of the current districts," the opinion said. "Indeed, (the plan's) chief selling point was that it required very little change to the existing districts: It moved just one county, representing 1.5 percent of the state's population, from one district to another."

The state is represented by Reps. Shelley Moore Capito and David McKinley, both R-W.Va, and Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va. All three are up for re-election.

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