Vermont Redistricting Cases:  the 1990s

In Re Reapportionment Towns of Hartland160 Vt. 9, 624 A.2d 323 (1993)

Following the 1992 reapportionment of the Vermont General Assembly, six petitions were filed with the Vermont Supreme Court.  Five of the petitions challenged districts created under the House plan; one challenge involved a Senate district.  The challenge to the Senate plan and four of the challenges to the House plan were dismissed by the court. The fifth house petition, however, resulted in remand of the House plan for consideration of the nonnumerical criteria and determination of whether one of the towns within the district could be placed in a district with which it shared a greater community of interest without creating constitutional or statutory violations elsewhere in the state.

Among the six petitions, the petitioners raised and the court addressed the following issues, among others: the deviation; geographical compactness and contiguity; adherence to town and county boundaries; the role of the statutory requirement that towns within a district share common interests; political gerrymandering; and incumbency.

In Re Reapportionment of Town of Montgomery162 Vt. 617, 647 A.2d 1013 (1994)
On remand, the General Assembly reconsidered the disputed district and determined that the constitutional and statutory criteria would not be better served by an alternate plan. The court deferred to the legislature's judgment and upheld the House plan.

State Contact

Michael Chernick
Legislative Counsel
Legislative Council
115 State St.
Montpelier, VT 05633-5301
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802/828-2424 fax