CALVERT COUNTY, Md. – Del. Mark Fisher [R-Calvert], Del. Nicholaus Kipke [R-Anne Arundel], and Del. Kathy Szeliga [R-Baltimore, Harford] have filed a petition with the Maryland Court of Appeals over recently passed legislative maps. The court is set to hear the case later this month.
The petition states that the new legislative maps were drawn up by Senate President Bill Ferguson [D-Baltimore City] and House Speaker Adrienne Jones [D-Baltimore] creating several districts that violate the Maryland State Constitution.
Fisher, Kipke, and Szeliga argue that 13 of 47 senatorial districts violate the Maryland Constitution and are seeking to change the maps. This doesn’t include several House districts, including one in Calvert County, that they argue don’t meet the necessary qualifications.
In a YouTube video posted on Mark Fisher’s channel titled “Gerrymandering is Cheating,” Fisher elaborated on his concerns about gerrymandering in Maryland. “Colleagues gerrymandering is cheating,” he began. “I was here 10 years ago when Karl Aro was a Head of the Departments of Legislative Services and was then and is now a tool of gerrymandering without question.”
Fisher went on to discuss how congressmen who get elected as a result of this supposed gerrymandering have put in place “the most inflationary policies in American history.”
In a second video titled “A Blatant Violation of Maryland’s Constitution,” Fisher said, “There is no reason why Calvert County can’t have two members of the house of delegates within the county proper…”
Fisher went on to cite Article 3, Section 4 of Maryland’s Constitution which states: “due regard shall be given to natural boundaries and boundaries of political subdivisions.”
Fisher was speaking directly to how District 27-B of the current legislative maps violated this part of the constitution as it extends from PG County across the Patuxent River into the peninsula of Calvert County. He argues that this natural boundary should cut off District 27-B.
“Calvert County and the people of Calvert County deserve to be represented with two full legislative districts in this peninsula county where there are natural boundaries, on one side the mighty Chesapeake Bay, and on the other the Patuxent River,” said Fisher.
Fisher’s speech was in support of an amendment to the legislative maps introduced by Del. Susan W. Krebs [R-Carroll]. Krebs’s amendment however was ultimately rejected in a 43-92 vote.
Fair Maps Maryland, a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to the abolition of partisan gerrymandering in Maryland, announced another lawsuit last month into a different map.
The lawsuit filed with the Maryland Court of Appeals challenges the lawfulness and constitutionality of the legislative maps and specifically outlines the following violations:
1. Violation of Anti-Gerrymandering Clause (Maryland Constitution, Article 3, Section 4)
2. Violation of Maryland’s Free Elections Clause (Maryland Declaration of Rights, Article 7)
3. Violation of Equal Protection (Maryland Declaration of Rights, Article 24)
4. Violation of Freedom of Speech (Maryland Declaration of Rights, Article 40)
5. Violation of Purity of Elections (Maryland Constitution, Article 1, Section 7)
The organization hopes that a new legislative district plan will be made as a result of this petition.
The legislative map lawsuit will be heard on March 22 at 10 a.m., and the deadline for candidates to file is slated for that same date at 9 p.m.
In a floor session on March 8, an amendment to HB35 was introduced to prevent election officials from delaying the primary election beyond two weeks after its currently slated date of June 28. The amendment passed and would only take effect if the bill also does.
Contact our news desk at email@example.com