MASON COUNTY — Mason County will stay in the third congressional district after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld West Virginia’s congressional redistricting plan this week.
Back in January, the high court put the brakes on a ruling by federal judges who called West Virginia’s new congressional redistricting plan “unconstitutional.” This “unconstitutional” plan moved Mason County from the second to third congressional district with those federal judges ordering a new plan be drafted no later than Jan. 17.
However, the Jan. 17 deadline sent lawmakers scrambling and appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court to delay the new plan due to then upcoming deadlines in this year’s election calendar. Justices with the high court obviously found the argument for a delay to have merit by granting the stay though it did not overturn the 2-1 ruling until this week, finding the redistricting plan is in fact “constitutional.”
The new redistricting plan moved just one county — Mason County. The panel of federal judges felt this movement of Mason County caused a population shift that wasn’t justified and created one district which contained significantly more people than the remaining two.
However, the high court felt the resulting population variances of moving Mason County were basically too small to incite constitutional concerns.
The Jefferson County Commission filed the challenge to overturn the restricting plan with many feeling better, more equitable plans for redrawing districts were available. Challenges to this plan can still be considered by the lower court, according to the state’s Constitution.
West Virginia’s three seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are all be on the ballot this year. Currently, Mason County is represented by Congresswoman Shelly Moore Capito, who is in the second congressional district. Currently, the third congressional district is represented by Congressman Nick Rahall (D) who is running for reelection against challenger Rick Snuffer (R).