The legal clock is ticking for anyone who wants to challenge the new map of Maryland’s General Assembly districts.
Following Thursday’s final adoption of a map laying out the boundaries for all 47 senators and 141 state delegates, Chief Judge Joseph M. Getty of the Court of Appeals issued a schedule on Friday for the anticipated legal challenges.
Those who wish to challenge the maps must do so by Feb. 10, and the state will be required to offer its response by Feb. 15. On Feb. 17, a conference will be held to schedule the rest of the legal process.
Getty appointed retired Judge Alan M. Wilner as a special magistrate overseeing the scheduling issues.
The scheduling order was issued at the request of Attorney General Brian Frosh, whose office will be tasked with defending the map that lawmakers approved.
Time is of the essence, as the legal process runs up to the Feb. 22 deadline for candidates to file paperwork with the Maryland State Board of Elections to run in the 2022 election. All seats in the General Assembly are up for election this year, with primary elections scheduled for June 28 and a general election in November.
At least one group, Fair Maps Maryland, has already vowed to challenge the new map, charging that it was drawn in secret to give Democrats an unfair advantage. Several Republican lawmakers have said they hope the court overturns the map.
Democratic leaders have been circumspect in their defense of the map, saying generally that they considered public testimony and the resulting districts are in compliance with the state constitution and federal voting rights laws.