Supreme Court Clarifies When a District Judge Must Convene a Three-Judge District Court In Redistricting Cases
Samuel T. Wolf
When a person files a lawsuit in federal court “challenging the constitutionality of the apportionment of congressional districts or the apportionment of any statewide legislative body,” the person may request that the case be heard by a three-judge district court. 28 U.S.C. § 2284(a). Another subsection of the same statute provides, “Upon the filing of a request for three judges, the judge to whom the request is presented shall, unless he determines that three judges are not required, immediately notify the chief judge of the circuit, who shall designate two other judges” for the three-judge court. § 2284(b)(1).
After Maryland enacted a 2011 statute establishing congressional districts based on the 2010 Census, several people filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. They alleged that the congressional redistricting burdens their right of political association under the First Amendment, and the plaintiffs requested that a three-judge district court decide the case...