The Supreme Court issued an order today in response to the Redistricting Board
"It is ordered:
1. The Amended Proclamation Plan adopted by the Redistricting Board on April 5, 2012, including the Southeast Alaska districts as configured in the plan of that date, shall serve as the redistricting plan for the 2012 elections."
So, after ordering the Board to reconfigure Southeast Alaska to only consider the state constitution and not the Voting Rights Act at all, the Board met and worked hard to comply, though they all said they were not pleased with the result. Now the Supreme Court is telling them to just use the Amended Proclamation Plan with the Southeast districts as they were on April 5.
The reasoning? The court was concerned about the numerous objections they got over the Southeast Alaska districts and that the Department of Justice wouldn't find the plan in compliance with the Voting Rights Act.
"The court has accepted the Southeast districts as configured in the plan of April 5, 2012 rather than the reconfiguration submitted by the Redistricting Board to the court on May 14, 2012 because of the numerous objections to the reconfigured districts that this court has received. While the reconfigured districts may comply with the redistricting criteria of article VI. section 6 of the Alaska Constitution, there is a risk that the United States Department of Justice would decline to pre-clear them under the Voting Rights Act. Notice of the failure of the Department of Justice to pre-clear the new districts would come so late in the 2012 election cycle that a great disruption to the election process would result. In order to avoid this possibility, the court will not require the use of the May 15, 2012 reconfigured districts for the 2012 elections."Two of the judges dissented - Winfree and Stowers - who thought the May 15 districts should have been adopted.
The board also acknowledged the work they put the Board through to get the new districts and commended them for all the work they did.
Politically, this means that Republican Native Representative Bill Thomas will NOT be running against another incumbent and that Republican Representatives Peggy Wilson and Kyle Johansen will be in the same district.