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October 28, 2011

Civil rights group needs more time (and $$) to challenge Congressional map

Short of cash, the Fannie Lou Hamer political action committee missed a self-imposed deadline today to file a lawsuit opposing the new Congressional boundaries passed by the state's general assembly.

"Lawsuits are expensive," said Radamase Cabrera, a spokesman for the FLH-PAC. "We don't have the quarter of a million dollars necessary" to win in court. Cabrera set a new deadline of Nov. 1 to file the suit. "Right now the complications are in terms of cash and resources," he said. Cabrera noted he's seeking funding from Maryland's Republican Party.

Cabrera's group believes the Congressional map passed last week by the state's General Assembly improperly divides minority populations in order to draw a district where a seventh Democrat could be elected to Congress. His group believes that the increase of blacks and Hispanics in the state was large enough to require that mapmakers to draw at third majority-minority seat. There are two now.

Cabrera also said that "as a back up strategy" he's interested in petitioning the map to referendum. The Sun reported yesterday that Del. Neal Parrott, who had success earlier this year halting the in-state tuition law via petitions, is considering mounting a similar effort on the Congressional maps.

The map already faces one legal challenge brought Thursday by a Washington County resident who attended each of the 12 redistricting hearings held across the state. He alleges that the map illegally splits like communities.
Posted by Annie Linskey at 2:59 PM | | Comments (0)

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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