The state Supreme Court is hearing arguments from lawyers this week in a challenge to new districts for the state House of Representatives. The Legislature and a group of Democrats and minority voters are asking the Supreme Court to overturn a redistricting map approved last month by state District Court Judge James Hall.
That map gives District 32 -- the seat currently held by Dona Irwin of Deming -- nearly twice as many Dona Ana County precincts as it does Luna County precincts... and more than two-thirds of Luna County will be in District 39, the seat currently held by Rudy Martinez of Bayard.
For the past decade all of Luna County has comprised House District 32, the seat currently held by Irwin. Officials say the approved plans reflect population growth in Dona Ana County and counters it with essentially no change in Luna County's population and population declines in Hidalgo and Grant counties. But legislative lawyers want the justices to order a redistricting proposal passed by the Legislature last year but vetoed by Republican Governor Susana Martinez.
Instead, the judge adopted a House plan advocated by the governor and other GOP statewide officials. Democrats contend the revised districts will help Republicans pick up House seats in this year's elections.