California “Supreme Court denies preliminary relief in partisan gerrymandering case”

At the Lectern:

The Supreme Court last week declined to overturn a superior court denial of a preliminary injunction that would have stopped the use at this year’s election of a newly drawn district map for the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors.

Although denying the preliminary injunction, the lower court concluded a lawsuit had a “probability of success” in establishing a violation of the state’s new FAIR MAPS Act because “the Board did not proceed in the manner required by law when it failed to consider evidence that the Adopted Map favored or discriminated against a political party.” A San Luis Obispo Tribune editorial says the map, which was “approved by the three conservative members of the Board of Supervisors, radically adjusted decades-old boundaries to give Republicans the advantage in three of the five districts, even though Democrats hold a countywide majority.”

The court denied preliminary relief because, it said, the likelihood of ultimate success in the continuing case was outweighed by “a substantial risk of harm to the County and the public as a whole” because of various factors, including “the time sensitive nature of the duties of the County’s Clerk Recorder” and “considerations of comity and judicial restraint.” However, the court acknowledged that allowing the upcoming election to proceed based on the challenged map “is an imperfect outcome.”

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