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Judge lets challenges to Maryland congressional map go ahead

ANNAPOLIS — A Maryland judge ruled Wednesday that Republican legal challenges to Maryland’s redrawn congressional map can mostly move forward.

Judge Lynne Battaglia largely rejected a request by attorneys for the state to dismiss them, The Baltimore Sun reported.

Battaglia, a retired state appeals court judge assigned to the case, dismissed one count that argued partisan gerrymandering of the map violated a clause in the Maryland Constitution, which says state legislators must enact laws “necessary for the preservation of the purity of elections.”

But other parts of the case are moving forward.

The two lawsuits both argue that partisan gerrymandering of the congressional districts by Democratic state lawmakers violates provisions in the state constitution. The claims have not previously been tested in Maryland courts.

A group of Republican state lawmakers backed by Fair Maps Maryland filed one of the lawsuits. The other was brought by the national conservative activist group Judicial Watch on behalf of 10 Republican voters, including two Republican congressional candidates, state Del. Neil Parrott and Jeff Werner.

A separate set of lawsuits over the redrawn districts for 188 members of the General Assembly are pending before the Maryland Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court.