Alaska attorney general joins others arguing that redistricting can be too partisan

Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee during her confirmation hearing in April. She joined a legal brief in a U.S. Supreme Court case, arguing that Wisconsin’s redistricting process was too partisan. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)

Alaska Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth joined a legal brief in a U.S. Supreme Court case Tuesday, arguing that redistricting shouldn’t favor one political party.

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Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum filed the amicus brief. Lindemuth and 16 other attorneys general joined it. The brief argues that a Wisconsin redistricting plan was too partisan.

Department of Law spokeswoman Cori Mills said Lindemuth supported drawing a line on when partisan redistricting – known as gerrymandering – becomes unconstitutional.

“The brief concludes that Wisconsin’s plan should be deemed unconstitutional,” Mills said.

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker supported the move.

“Drawing district lines only to maximize one political party’s power, without any other reasonable justification, is a disservice to the voters and to democracy,” Walker said in a statement.

But at least one member of the board in charge of Alaska’s most recent redistricting disagreed.

Juneau resident PeggyAnn McConnochie said Alaska shouldn’t weigh in on what Wisconsin did.

“Every state has its own way of doing it,” McConnochie said. “Unless you are in the middle of it and you understand all sides, then I don’t think it’s reasonable for us to get involved.”

The brief argues that advances in technology have made it easier to have “extreme partisan” redistricting that insulate political parties from attempts to unseat them.

The case, Gill v. Whitford, is scheduled to be argued Oct. 3.

Andrew Kitchenman is the state government and politics reporter for Alaska Public Media and KTOO in Juneau. Reach him at

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