A five-judge panel appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court is hearing arguments on Tuesday from citizens, communities of color and the state’s two political parties on their redistricting plans, a last attempt to influence the shape of the state’s political districts for the next decade to come.
The oral arguments are the final public step in a months-long series of hearings held by the courts across the state to gather input on redistricting, the once-a-decade process of redistributing population evenly among congressional and legislative districts following the census count.
Technically, the Legislature is bound by the Constitution to do the work of redrawing the lines, but the job has been kicked to the courts each decade for the last 50 years due to gridlock at the Capitol. Democrats in control of the Minnesota House have released a set of congressional and legislative maps, but Republicans leading the state Senate have yet to release their maps.
Lawmakers have until Feb. 15 to reach an agreement. If they don’t, the courts are expected to release maps they’ve drawn on that day, reshuffling the lines and scrambling the political dynamics in districts across the state.
The process has operated under a tight timeline after delays of critical data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Oral arguments began at 9:30 a.m.
This is a developing story, check back for updates.