District judge slaps down Sen. Wilson’s challenge to Senate reapportionment

 Last week, an Oklahoma County judge dismissed a vigorous challenge to the state Senate reapportionment plan enacted last spring in the Legislature. In light of an earlier judicial ruling sending the legal questions at issue to that judge, it now seems likely new Senate districts will stay in place for the 2012 election cycle and beyond.

District Judge Lisa Davis dismissed a constitutional challenge brought by state Sen. Jim Wilson, a Tahlequah Democrat. This afternoon, in comments sent to CapitolBeatOK, Wilson said he would take another try at state Supreme Court review.

Applauding the decision was state Sen. Clark Jolley of Edmond, a Republican leader in the Senate. In his prepared statement, Jolley said:

“I’m very pleased Judge Davis decided the case promptly and professionally. It is time for this unending litigation to come to a close.  This is Sen. Wilson’s third loss in three attempts in just over a month.  The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled the plan was constitutional, denied a request for a rehearing, and today an Oklahoma County Judge dismissed his second lawsuit.

“His argument on the constitutionality of the plan has been thrown out by the highest court in our state and again today by a lower court.

“The Senate approved our bipartisan redistricting plan by a vote of 38-6, with eight members of the minority party voting in favor of the proposal.
“Regrettably, media reports indicate he plans yet another appeal, further wasting taxpayer resources.  It’s time for Sen. Wilson to accept the judgment of the Legislature, Governor and Judiciary that the plan is constitutional.”

For his part, Sen. Wilson says state constitutional provisions intended to prevent political gerrymanders have not yet faced final review in the matter. He said Judge Davis misread the state High Court opinion and should look at the matter again on an expedited basis.

Wilson’s statement to CapitolBeatOK and other news organizations said: “The Republican Senate spent over a hundred thousand dollars to have a political consultant draft districts making it easier for Republicans to get elected.

“This money should have gone to our schools and roads. Now the Republicans are spending more thousands of dollars drawing districts which split cities and counties for political purposes. Most of us are citizens of Oklahoma first, and Democrats and Republicans second.

“The Senate is saying, political parties come first and the interest of our citizens are not even part of the mix. Hopefuly, the voters will not forget this when the elections take place.