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Hogan Appoints Commission on Sixth Congressional District Gerrymandering

Governor Larry Hogan has appointed six citizen members to the Emergency Commission on Sixth Congressional District Gerrymandering. The Sixth Congressional District currently serves the Germantown and most of the UpCounty Montgomery County area from Potomac and runs through most of Frederick County and west to Washington, Allegheny, and Garrett counties.

Governor Hogan announced the creation of the emergency commission in response to a federal court ruling in the case of Benisek v. Lamone in November 2018 requiring the state to redraw the 6th Congressional District.

The decision by a three-judge panel in the United States District Court ruled that the boundaries of the Maryland Sixth District were unconstitutional, and ruled that new boundaries had to be drawn before the 2020 election and the boundaries would be redrawn again prior to the 2022 election after the data from the 2020 census was available.

The case, Benisek vs. Lamone, was brought by seven registered Republicans who challenged the constitutionality and the way the State of Maryland redrew the boundaries of the Sixth District in 2011. The plaintiffs contend that Democrats in Annapolis redrew the district’s lines to envelop parts of heavily Democratic Montgomery County.

Prior to the district being redrawn longtime Republican Congressman Roscoe Bartlett held the seat but lost after the addition of Montgomery County to the district allowing Montgomery County Democrat and current Congressman, Rep. John Delaney to win the seat. Delaney gave up the seat this year to run for president in the 2020 election. In January, the seat will go to another Democrat from Montgomery County, Congressman-elect David Trone.

Days after the court ruling, Maryland’s staunchly Democratic Attorney General Brian Frosh, filed a Notice of Appeal with the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland in Benisek v. Lamone, requesting a hearing before the Supreme Court. The Office also filed a Consent Motion to Stay and requested an expedited briefing to allow time to implement the Court’s decision in the event of an adverse ruling.

The Emergency Commission on Sixth Congressional District Gerrymandering will be charged with developing new boundaries in an open and transparent manner to address all constitutional violations; comprised of nine members, including three registered Democrats, three registered Republicans, and three registered voters not affiliated with either party; and the commission’s meetings are required to be open to the public and live-streamed.