Hosemann: Legislators should follow the Constitution

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Published: May 2,2011

Tags: census, courts, elections, Politics, redistricting

JACKSON — Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann has released a strongly worded statement saying legislators, not a federal court, should decide on redistricting. Allowing a federal judge to render a decision is counter to the state Constitution, Hosemann says.

Hosemann wrote in an open letter to the public: “As a fervent believer in state’s rights and the state Constitution, it is incomprehensible to me that the State of Mississippi would willingly toss redistricting, such an important issue to all Mississippians, into federal court. Redistricting is the cornerstone of determining who represents your interests. It is key to your representation and your voice in government. Now, some individuals seek to limit your ability to have a voice in your elected leadership by pitching the responsibility to the federal court system in the form of a lawsuit, rather than follow a process clearly outlined in the State Constitution.

“
The state Constitution, the foundation of our state’s rights, provides a clear roadmap for redistricting. Legislators were elected by their fellow citizens to perform this important task every 10 years following the decennial census. Legislators failed to accomplish redistricting this year, but the state Constitution gives lawmakers another year to approve new lines. Redistricting should be completed by representatives and senators elected on the state level by citizens of this state and in accordance with the state Constitution.

“The NAACP v. Barbour, Hood, Hosemann, et. al, lawsuit was filed only 42 days after the census was delivered to the Legislature and before the constitutional process was exhausted. In an attempt to skew the lines in their favor, individuals sought federal intervention to place what is clearly a state issue into the hands of the United States government.

“So what is a reasonable time for the Legislature to finish the redistricting process? Article 13, Section 254 clearly says, ‘The Legislature shall, at its regular session in the second year following the 1980 decennial census and every ten (10) years thereafter…apportion the state in accordance with Constitution of the state and of the United States…’

“What other parts of the Constitution will be ignored for political expediency by a group seeking advantages for their own political agenda?

“When we lose the roadmap of our government (the Constitution), we lose our direction as a state.”

Source: Secretary of State’s Office

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