By Jack Elliot Jr./The Associated Press
JACKSON – The U.S. Supreme Court won’t get involved in a fight over legislative redistricting in Mississippi.
The court on Monday affirmed a lower court ruling allowing state lawmakers to run in their current districts this year. The justices rejected an appeal from the Mississippi NAACP.
Mississippi’s statewide and legislative elections are Nov. 8.
The Mississippi Legislature did not adopt a redistricting plan this year. The 122 Mississippi House districts and 52 Senate districts are updated after every census to reflect population and to uphold the constitutional principle of one person, one vote.
When redistricting failed, the state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People sued. But a three-judge federal panel said the state either had to immediately redraw the lines or let lawmakers run in their current districts in 2011.
A federal panel said in May that the state still has another year to complete remapping district lines, so no temporary action was warranted.
The NAACP said elections under the current districts will violate the one-person, one-vote principle.
Mississippi NAACP president Derrick Johnson did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, a Republican, said Monday that the decision reaffirms the Legislature’s right to redistrict itself.
“The decision validates next Tuesday’s legislative election. It means the Mississippi Constitution controls the election of our representatives,” Hosemann said.
Lawmakers in January will return to the task of trying to draw new lines. The question remains about whether lawmakers will have to run again in 2012.