Maryland High Court Sets Deadline for Legislative Map Challenges, Appoints Special Magistrate

On Friday, the Court of Appeals of Maryland, which has original jurisdiction over challenges to legislative districting maps, issued an order setting a February 10 deadline for challenges to the map that the General Assembly adopted this month. Senior Judge Alan Wilner, who sat on the Court from 1996 to 2007 and now heads the Rules Committee, will serve as Special Magistrate.

The order’s key provisions are:

(1) Any registered voter of the State who contends that the 2022 legislative districting plan, or any part thereof, is invalid shall file a petition, on or before Thursday, February 10, 2022 at 4:30 p.m., with the Clerk of this Court and serve it on the Attorney General of Maryland in accordance with Maryland Rules 2-124 and 20-205. If the registered voter is a Maryland Electronic Courts (“MDEC”) registered user pursuant to Maryland Rule 20-104, or is represented by counsel who is a MDEC registered user pursuant to Maryland Rule 20-104, the registered voter is required to file electronically. If the registered voter is not an MDEC registered user, or is represented by counsel who is not a registered user, the registered voter may hand-deliver or mail the original petition and one copy to the Clerk of this Court. The petition shall set forth: the petitioner’s objection to the plan; the particular part or parts of the plan claimed to be unconstitutional under the Constitution of the United States of America, Constitution of Maryland, or federal law; the factual and legal basis for such claims; and the particular relief requested, including any alternative district configuration suggested or requested by the petitioner(s).
(2) The State’s response to said petition(s) and alternative plan(s) must be electronically filed on or before Tuesday, February 15, 2022 at 4:30 p.m.
(3) The Honorable Alan M. Wilner, Retired Judge of this Court, is hereby appointed to serve as the Court’s Special Magistrate.
(4) The Special Magistrate will conduct a scheduling conference on Thursday, February 17, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. The hearing will be conducted virtually.
(5) By further order(s) of the Court to be issued, upon advice of the Special Magistrate, who may confer with the parties and counsel, the Court shall establish deadlines and procedures for discovery; preliminary and dispositive motions; briefs filed as amicus curiae; the location, date, and time of evidentiary or other hearing(s); the filing of the Special Magistrate’s written Report of findings of fact and conclusions of law; the filing with the Court of written exceptions to the Special Magistrate’s Report; the time, date, and location of the Court’s hearings on any exceptions to the Special Magistrate’s Report; and other appropriate procedures.
(6) By further order(s) of the Court to be issued, upon advice of the Special Magistrate, who may confer with the parties and counsel, deadlines and other dates relevant to the Election Calendar will be adjusted.

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