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Gibbs Lead Attorney for Mississippi Redistricting Ruling

Posted April 20, 2013

On October 31, 2011, The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the right of the State of Mississippi to redistrict itself in the 2012 session, following the MS State Constitution, which requires redistricting every ten years. Lead attorney for Hosemann’s team was Robert Gibbs, of GibbsWhitwell, LLC, in Jackson, MS.

“In May of this year, a federal three-judge panel upheld the Secretary of State’s position that it is premature to impose any remedy, since reapportionment is not required this year under the Mississippi State or United States Constitutions,” Gibbs explained. “This allows the November 8th elections to proceed under the current districts.”

The Memorandum Opinion and Order issued by Judges E. Grady Jolly, Tom S. Lee, and Louis Guirola, Jr., stated: “…The plain language of the Mississippi Constitution thus demonstrates that under State law the Legislature is not required to reapportion itself until its regular session in 2012.“ Section 254 of the State Constitution states, in part, “The Legislature shall at its regular session in the second year following the 1980 decennial census and every (10) years thereafter…apportion the state in accordance with the Constitution of the State…”

The Justices rejected an appeal from the Mississippi NAACP that our Mississippi Legislature did not adopt a redistricting plan even though the most current census reflected population changes warranting the constitutional principle of one person, one vote. Redistricting was stalled during the 2011 legislative session when the Republican-controlled Senate rejected the proposed map written in the Democratic-controlled House. The last redistricting was conducted in 2002.

"Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann told WLBT news, “It also dumps the ball clearly in the Legislature for next year to redistrict themselves."

If legislators "don't perform that duty, we certainly could be back in federal court, he said. "The best part of this is that we get to do it ourselves and that's the way it should be."

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