SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon Supreme Court on Monday dismissed two challenges filed by Republicans to new state legislative districts approved by lawmakers in September.
Oregon gained a new, sixth U.S. House seat after the Census was completed in 2020, but the lawsuits were specifically about the 90 state legislative districts that will allow Democrats to continue to hold majorities in the state House and Senate. However, it will not guarantee the party the supermajority it currently holds.
Throughout the entire redistricting process, Republicans have accused the Democrats of gerrymandering, or purposely drawing districts to maintain control of the Capitol in Salem. The Princeton Gerrymandering Project reviewed the maps and gave Oregon a failing grade for the U.S. Congressional map, but has not released grades for the state House and Senate maps.
The two lawsuits the state Supreme Court heard alleged that Democratic lawmakers drew the state districts for partisan political gain and to help incumbents. The court disagreed, and said the GOP failed to show the new districts violated state laws.
The redistricting process was changed during the regular 2021 legislative session to give Republicans more of a say in how the districts would be drawn. House Democrats agreed to share the redistricting power if Republicans agreed to stop blocking bills with delay tactics. The move essentially gave veto power to the GOP over what the six congressional districts and the state's legislative districts will look like.
That power was later voided by House Speaker Tina Kotek, saying she was "disappointed after many months of work, House Republicans did not engage constructively despite many attempts to address their concerns."