A lot, according to a recently filed lawsuit challenging the Missouri congressional redistricting plan. Alleging that the districts violate the state’s constitution, the plaintiffs seek to have the Republican-drawn plan thrown out, and replaced with one drawn by the Missouri courts.
After the 2010 census results indicated that the population of Missouri grew only 7%, compared to the national average of 10%, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that Missouri would lose a congressional seat. With nine representatives currently serving in Congress, Missouri was left with the arduous task of redrawing the congressional districts from nine to eight, inevitably making one incumbent very unhappy. Per the state’s constitution, this task fell on the General Assembly. With Republicans heavily outnumbering Democrats in both the state’s House of Representatives and the Senate, there was little question which party would end up on the losing end of the decision. At the time, Democrats held three of the nine congressional seats, and two of those seats represented parts of St. Louis, Missouri’s largest city. With a substantial amount of the state’s population growth occurring in the Republican-dominated, suburban counties surrounding the city, namely St. Charles, Warren, and Lincoln County, the population of St. Louis City and St. Louis County declined and the area became the inevitable target of the new redistricting plan.