Missouri Supreme Court examines U.S. House districts

Several judges focused their questions Thursday morning on the design and shape of the Kansas City-based 5th Congressional District, as they asked lawyers in two different lawsuits to explain why the Missouri Supreme Court should or should not overturn the new district boundaries that lawmakers adopted last May by overriding Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto.

“What specific evidence went to the ‘teardrop’ in the 5th District, as to whether or not that teardrop was necessary or appropriate?” Judge William Ray Price Jr. asked. “Was there any specific finding by the (Cole County) circuit court as to the teardrop?”

Gerald Greiman, a St. Louis lawyer representing five Missourians challenging the map, told Price: “No, your honor. There were none.”

Under the lawmakers’ map, the Kansas City-based 5th District includes western and southeastern Jackson County, as well as Lafayette, Ray and Saline counties.

But northeastern Jackson County and a narrow “finger” or “teardrop” that covers parts of Independence, Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit, were included with the mostly rural 6th Congressional district north of the Missouri River. For the first time, the district stretches across all of northern Missouri.

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