State's high court sets arguments in redistricting cases

CHARLESTON -- The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, in an order Wednesday, said oral arguments over the new House of Delegates and Senate redistricting plans will be held next week.

The Court, in its three-page order, said arguments will be held in Charleston at 10 a.m. Nov. 17.

The order of argument and the time allotted to each party will be provided at a later date, the Court said.

Also Wednesday, the Court ordered a rule to show cause be awarded to the petitioners in the five redistricting cases.

They include: South Charleston attorney Thornton Cooper; Putnam County Commissioners Stephen Andes and Joseph Haynes; Putnam County Clerk Brian Wood; Mason County Commissioners Bob Baird, Myles Epung and Rick Handley; Mason County Clerk Diana Cromley; Monroe County Commissioners Michael Shane Ashley, Clyde Gum Jr. and William Miller; and Monongalia and Wood county residents Eldon A. Callen, Jim Boyce, Petra and John Wood, and Frank Deem.

This means the respondents in the five cases, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant and House Speaker Rick Thompson, must show cause why a writ of prohibition or mandamus should not be awarded against the Secretary of State's Office, as requested by the petitioners.

The responses already filed in the House cases by Cooper and Putnam and Mason counties will stand as the responses to rule to show cause, the Court explained.

Those responses filed in the three remaining cases -- which are due on or before Monday -- also will serve as the responses to rule to show cause, the Court said.

The petitioners argue that the new House and Senate redistricting plans are unconstitutional. They want the state's high court to stop Tennant's office from implementing the plans.

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