Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley (D) was deposed Wednesday by attorneys in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state’s 2011 redistricting process, which O’Malley oversaw.
The lawyers deposed Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) on Monday and House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) last week.
Both lawmakers played key roles in the redistricting process. They and O’Malley tried unsuccessfully to avoid turning over records and testifying in the lawsuit, citing legislative and executive privilege.
U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar ruled in January that the ability to discover evidence “lies at the heart of this case” and said the legislature’s direct role in the redistricting process “supports overcoming the legislative privilege.”
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Benisek v. Lamone, allege that state officials redrew Maryland’s congressional districts based on party registration and voting histories, violating the First Amendment by making it difficult for people of a particular political persuasion to elect their preferred representative.
Specifically, they claim that Maryland’s 6th Congressional District was manipulated to unseat then-Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett (R), a 10-term incumbent who lost to Democrat John Delaney in 2012.
The plaintiffs are asking a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court in Maryland to prevent the state from enforcing its current congressional map.
Their attorneys say they expect a bench trial this summer and a decision by early fall, with the ruling potentially requiring the state to redraw voting boundaries before the 2018 primary elections.