Mississippi

State website: www.msjrc.state.ms.us/index.html
2010-cycle districts: Congress, State Senate, State House  « NEW 
2000-cycle districts: Congress, State Senate, State House
Primary governing law: Miss. Const. art. XIII, § 254, Miss. Code § 5-3-101

The Latest

Congress: With no legislative plan likely, the same federal court asked to draw districts in the last cycle amended its judgment on December 30, drawing new congressional districts for the new cycle.

State leg.: The Senate passed a Senate plan, the House added a House plan and passed the whole, but the legislature as a whole did not adopt a plan before adjourning. In a challenge to 2011 state elections, a federal court ruled that the legislature need not adopt new state legislative lines before 2012. On May 2, 2012, the state legislature passed JR 1 (state House lines); on May 3, it passed JR 201 (state Senate lines. Both were precleared on September 14, 2012, and court challenges were rejected.

  • Institution

    Redistricting political control:

    Governor State Senate State House
    Congressional lines R 26 D, 25 R 72 D, 50 R
    State legislative lines 21 D, 31 R 58 D, 64 R  (after 2011 elec.)
    2000 cong. lines D 34 D, 18 R 86 D, 33 R
    2000 state lines 34 D, 18 R 86 D, 33 R

    Mississippi's congressional lines are drawn by the legislature, as a regular statute, subject to gubernatorial veto.

    The state legislative lines are drawn by the legislature and passed as a joint resolution, which is not subject to gubernatorial veto. [Miss. Const. art. XIII, § 254]

    For both plans, the legislature is assisted by a 20-member joint legislative committee: the chair and vice-chair of the state House and state Senate elections committees; two state Representatives from each of four congressional districts, appointed by the speaker of the House; and two state Senators from each of four congressional districts, appointed by the Lieutenant Governor. The members of the committee are listed here.
    [Miss. Code §§5-3-91, 5-3-121 (note: although the statutes still call for two members from each of five congressional districts, the membership of the commission reflects the fact that Mississippi now has only four congressional districts)]

    If the legislature fails to pass a state legislative plan, those lines will be drawn by a five-member backup commission, in place since 1977. The commission consists of the Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court, the Attorney General, the Secretary of State, and the majority leaders of the House and Senate. [Miss. Const. art. XIII, § 254]


  • Timing

    Census data were delivered to Mississippi on February 3, 2011.

    Mississippi state law does not impose a particular deadline for drawing congressional lines, though candidates must file for congressional primary elections by March 1, 2012. [Miss. Code § 23-15-299(1)(b)]

    For state legislative plans, the legislature's initial deadline to draw a map is the end of the regular session in the second year following the census, which will be May 7, 2012. If the legislature fails to pass a plan, it will be called into a 30-day special apportionment session; if that session also ends without a plan, the backup commission will be convened, and must provide a plan within 180 days.
    [Miss. Const. art. IV, § 36; art. XIII, § 254] However, candidates must file for state legislative primary elections by June 1, 2011. [Miss. Code § 23-15-299(1)(b)]

    Mississippi expressly permits redrawing state legislative lines at any time mid-decade, before the next Census; there is no similar provision pertaining to congressional lines. [Miss. Const. art. XIII, § 254]


  • Public input

    Mississippi's standing legislative committees for congressional and state legislative reapportionment have provided for public hearings, and for access to the committees' computer system for members of the public who wish to draw and submit proposed plans. The committees held hearings in February 2011.


  • Criteria

    Like all states, Mississippi must comply with constitutional equal population requirements and with section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Mississippi is further considered a "covered state" under section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, with the obligation to submit redistricting plans to the Department of Justice or to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, to ensure that the plans do not discriminate against minority communities.

    For Mississippi's state legislative lines, the state constitution further requires that districts be contiguous. A Mississippi statute also requires that state legislative districts be compact, and cross political boundaries as little as possible; county lines and election district lines are prioritized above other political bounds. The legislature may alter these constraints by statute. [Miss. Const. art. XIII, § 254, Miss. Code § 5-3-101] Floterial (or overlapping) districts may be acceptable under state law. [Connor v. Johnson, 330 F. Supp. 506, 507 (S.D. Miss. 1971)]


  • 2010 cycle cases

    Miss. NAACP v. Barbour, No. 3:11-cv-00159 (S.D. Miss.), No. 11-82 & No. 12-1019 (U.S.): a challenge in federal court to the unequal population of current state legislative districts, and their compliance with the Voting Rights Act, based on legislative inability to agree on district lines within the 2011 legislative session; the state Senate passed a Senate plan, and the state House added a state House plan and passed the whole, but the legislature did not formally adopt a state legislative plan before adjourning.
         - Trial court
              - Complaint (Mar. 17, 2011).
              - Motion for temporary restraining order (Mar. 29).
              - Motion for preliminary injunction (Mar. 28).
              - Motion to dismiss (Apr. 1).
              - Memorandum opinion and order (May 16).
         - U.S. Supreme Court (direct appeal)
              - Jurisdictional statement (July 15).
              - Motions to dismiss by Gov (Aug. 18), AG, SoS (Sept. 19).
              - Opposition (Sept. 29).
              - Summary affirmance (Oct. 31).
         - Trial court II
              - Motion to set aside 2011 elections, memo (Oct. 13, 2012).
                   - Response by Gov (Oct. 29), AG, SoS, Miss. Dems. (Oct. 30).
              - Denial of motion to set aside elections (Nov. 19).
         - U.S. Supreme Court (direct appeal)
              - Jurisdictional statement (Feb. 8, 2013).
              - Motion to affirm by Gov et al. (Mar. 20), AG (Apr. 17), SoS (Apr. 18).
              - Reply (Apr. 25).
              - Summary affirmance (May 20).
    The latest: On May 16, 2011, the court decided that 2011 state legislative elections may take place within the current districts, if the legislature does not enact valid districts beforehand; the court determined that the legislature's obligation under state law is to redistrict state lines by 2012, and the federal constitution does not compel a different result. On June 7, plaintiffs appealed the ruling directly to the US Supreme Court, which summarily affirmed on October 31, 2011.
         On October 13, 2012, plaintiffs asked the district court to set aside new lines drawn in 2012, as a violation of section 2 of the Voting Rights Act; on November 19, that motion was denied. Plaintiffs again appealed, and the lower court's ruling was summarily affirmed.

    Clemons v. U.S. Dep't of Commerce, No. 3:09-cv-00104 (N.D. Miss.) & No. 10-291 (Sup. Ct.): a challenge to the number of congressional seats and the consequent apportionment of congressional districts, based on the assertion that congressional districts cannot be equally populated if there are only 435 members of Congress.
         - Trial court
              - Complaint (Sept. 17, 2009) and amended complaint (Jan. 7, 2010).
              - Motion to dismiss / summary judgment (Dec. 21), opp. (Feb. 19), reply (Apr. 23).
              - Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment (Feb. 19), opp. (Apr. 23), reply (May 13).
              - Order granting summary judgment to government (July 8).
         - Supreme Court
              - Jurisdictional statement (Aug. 26).
              - Motion to dismiss or affirm (Nov. 17), reply (Nov. 22).
              - Order summarily vacating, remanding to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction (Dec. 13).
    The latest: On July 8, 2010, the court issued an order granting summary judgment to the government defendants, and rejecting plaintiffs' claims. That order was vacated by the U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 13, 2010, and remanded with an order to the district court to dismiss the case, for lack of jurisdiction.

    Smith v. Hosemann, No. 3:01-cv-00855 (S.D. Miss.): in the 2000 cycle of redistricting, a federal court drew congressional lines. One of the defendants in that case then attempted in 2011 to seek relief from that judgment and to ask the court for a new map, on the grounds that the court's lines had become malapportioned after the 2010 census.
         - Motion to amend judgment (Sept. 12, 2011).
         - Responses to jurisdiction, filed by
           Miss. Attorney General, Miss. Secretary of State, Miss. Republican Party (Dec. 12).
         - Court order proposing map, with explanation, map, and stats (Dec. 19).
              - Responses by Buck et al., Miss. AG, Miss. SoS, Miss. Republican Party (Dec. 22).
         - Final opinion implementing proposed map (Dec. 30).
    The latest: On December 30, the court issued a final opinion promulgating congressional districts.

  • Buck v. Barbour, No. 3:11-cv-00717 (S.D. Miss.): a challenge in federal court to the unequal population of current congressional districts, based on legislative inability to agree on congressional districts in timely fashion.
         - Complaint (Nov. 21, 2011) and amended complaint (Dec. 7).
         - Motion for preliminary injunction (Dec. 8).
    The latest: The complaint was filed on November 21, 2011, with an amended complaint December 7. On December 19, this case was consolidated with Smith v. Hosemann, above.


  • 2000 cycle

    In the 2000 redistricting cycle, Mississippi's legislature passed joint resolutions redistricting the state House and state Senate, on March 26, 2002, precleared on June 17, 2002.

    The legislature did not, however, reach agreement on a congressional plan, and both federal and state courts attempted to assert jurisdiction. The state court developed a plan, but preclearance was delayed (moreover, the state Supreme Court later determined that state statutes deprive state courts of jurisdiction to draw plans of their own). Due to the delay, the federal court drew congressional districts for use in the 2002 elections.
    [Branch v. Clark, No. G-2001-1777 (Miss. Chancery Ct. Dec. 21, 2001); Smith v. Clark, 189 F. Supp. 2d 512 (S.D. Miss. 2002); Smith v. Clark, 189 F. Supp. 2d 548 (S.D. Miss. 2002), aff'd sub nom. Branch v. Smith, 538 U.S. 254 (2003); Mauldin v. Branch, 866 So.2d 429 (Miss. 2003)]

    The state legislative plan was later challenged in federal court, and upheld. [Woullard v. Mississippi, No. 3:05-CV-97 (S.D. Miss. 2006)]

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