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Missouri Supreme Court allows new boundaries for state House to go into effect

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 27, 2012 - Just hours before candidate-filing ends for this year’s ballots, the Missouri Supreme Court has issued a ruling that, in effect, allows the new boundary lines for the state’s 163 state House seats to go into effect.

The high court issued a one-sentence ruling this afternoon that affirms a lower-court decision in a suit seeking to toss out the new state House map.

The Supreme Court’s action had been expected, and most state House candidates had already filed for office with that in mind. 

The new map had been crafted by a team of appellate judges last fall after a bipartisan reapportionment panel set up by the governor failed to reach  agreement.

Critics had gone to court earlier this year, contending that the map failed to comply with the state constitution's "compactness" mandate and the  requirement that all 163 House districts have populations as similar as possible. Instead, some districts have more than 7 percent deviation, the suit noted.

The Supreme Court’s hearing of the appeal came the day before candidate filing officially got underway on Feb. 28.

The state Supreme Court has yet to rule on combined suits that challenge the new boundaries for the state’s remaining eight congressional districts.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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