Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday appointed six more members to a commission charged with redrawing Maryland’s congressional district map after a federal court ruled one of the state’s districts was unconstitutionally drawn to diminish Republican influence.
After a federal court ordered Maryland’s sixth congressional district to be redrawn before the 2020 election, Hogan created the Emergency Commission on Sixth Congressional District Gerrymandering.
The body is charged with developing new boundaries to address the constitutional violations found by the court, specifically that Democrats in Maryland drew the district to disenfranchise Republicans. The nine-member commission includes three registered Democrats, three registered Republicans and three registered unaffiliated voters. The commission’s meetings are required to be open to the public and live-streamed.
Maryland’s leaders face a critical and complex choice in light of a decision in which three federal judges found the state’s congressional district map to be unconstitutionally gerrymandered: comply or appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court? State Attorney General Brian Frosh hasn't announced a decision.
The members Hogan appointed Thursday are Maury S. Epner of Montgomery County; Deborah Lundahl of Frederick County; Christopher Howard of Anne Arundel County; Luis T. Gutierrez Jr. of Montgomery County; Matthew Douglas of Montgomery County; and Kathleen Jo Parson Tabor of Howard County.
In November 2018, Hogan named former federal judge Alexander Williams, a registered Democrat, and Walter Olson, a registered Republican, as co-chairs, and named Ashley Oleson, an unaffiliated voter, to serve on the commission.
Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House of Delegates Speaker Michael Busch said in recent interviews that they are waiting on the federal appeals process to play out before determining how they will proceed on redrawing congressional districts.
A three-judge federal court panel has ruled Maryland drew the boundary lines for the 6th congressional district in an unconstitutional way to benefit Democrats. The court banned the state from using those boundaries in the future. Attorney General Brian Frosh is reviewing whether to appeal.