By NICK SLOAN, NJSloan212@gmail.com
When looking over the 200-plus page opinion filed by a three-judge panel about their congressional redistricting plan, two items jump out when it comes to Wyandotte County and why the judges kept it in the Third District.
First, the judges believed in the long history of Wyandotte County being in the Third District.
"The Court agrees with all of the recommended plans that the entirety of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties should be included in the Third District," the judges wrote in their opinion. "Those counties have formed the core of the Third District for decades, and as the Court concluded in O’Sullivan, they should be placed in the same district because they 'represent the Kansas portion of greater Kansas City, a major socio-economic unit,” and the counties’ economic, political and cultural ties are significantly greater than their differences.'"
In the written opinion, judges also expressed concern for the minority population in Wyandotte County, writing their voices would be "diluted" if the county was moved to the First District of Kansas.
"The Court also agrees with O’Sullivan that Wyandotte County should be placed in a single district so that the voting power of its large minority population may not be diluted," the judges wrote. "The Court's plan maintains the voting strength of the minority population in Wyandotte County."
Needless to say, Wyandotte County's minority population was very important when it came to the panel.
According to the recent population estimates, Wyandotte County's minority population is 42 percent of the county's population total. State-wide, the minority population is an estimated 16 percent.
The entire ruling can be read here. You need software that can read PDF files to open it: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/60051535/12-4046Opinion_original.pdf