Missouri Supreme Court upholds state Senate district maps that a House Republican PAC had strangely opposed

New Missouri Senate districts were handily approved by the state Supreme Court Wednesday, even after a bizarre legal challenge to them by the former director of the House Republican Campaign Committee (HRCC).

The Missouri Supreme Court decided 5-2 Wednesday to uphold the districts, which were drawn by a panel of appeals court judges after a bipartisan citizens’ commission failed to do so.

Under its previous leadership, HRCC, a political action committee to help elect Republicans to the state House, had oddly supported a Democrat-led lawsuit challenging the Senate districts, even though they actually favored the GOP.

It’s wholly unclear why the HRCC would have intervened with an amicus (friend of the court) brief in a Democrat-led lawsuit to overturn Republican-friendly districts – in the other chamber, no less.

The Heartlander exposed that peculiar fact in December – along with the fact that the HRCC, under its then-executive director Jonathan Ratliff, had sent over three quarters of a million dollars to Ratliff’s company since 2018 and had actually lost seats in the House.

Hours after The Heartlander’s reporting, the HRCC removed him as executive director.

New Supreme Court Judge Kelly Broniec, who wrote the majority opinion in the redistricting case, had pledged when Gov. Mike Parson appointed her to the high court in September that she would “not be attempting to make laws. I will interpret them and apply them to the facts in each case in determining if there were prejudicial legal errors made in the cases that come before us.”

Indeed, in her decision Wednesday Broniec explained, while citing precedent, that, “This Court will not interfere with the political process by finding a redistricting map unconstitutional ‘unless the plaintiff proves that it clearly and undoubtedly contravenes the constitution’.” Additionally, she wrote, there was “substantial evidence” to support a lower court’s upholding of the maps.

Legislative districts must be redrawn after each U.S. census.


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