Democratic senator backs redistricting suit
A Democratic state senator from Prince George's County has thrown his support behind a lawsuit challenging the congressional redistricting map the General Assembly adopted during its recent special session, calling it "unfair to the voiceless citizens of this state."
Sen. C. Anthony Muse, who was the only African-American senator to oppose the new map, said he backs the legal challenge mounted by the Fannie Lou Hamer Politiical Action Committee against the redistricting in federal District Court. A three-judge panel of that court has been named to hear the suit, which is also being cheered on by the Maryland Republican Party.
The map devised by Gov. Martin O'Malley an endorsed by General Assembly leaders seeks to increase the current 6-2 Democratic majority in the state's House delegation to 7-1. But in doing so it leaves the number of African-American majority districts at two, where a third minority district could have been drawn.
The lawsuit claims that approach is unconstitutional, and Muse released a statement Wednesday expressing that view.
“This is not about the Democratic party. This about a select few in power, who are hand- selecting individuals to hold seat in government,” Muse said. “I believe this type of gerrymandering is what our citizens fought against during the civil rights era, and it is now beginning to present itself again."
Muse, regarded as a maverick within his caucus, said he would not be personally affected by the map because he does not plan to run for the House. He has left open the possibility of running for a U.S. Senate seat -- most likely the one now held by Democratic U.S. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin.