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Judges Make Only Slight Tweaks to Mississippi Map

A federal three-judge panel on Friday implemented a new Congressional map for 2012 that adjusts for shifting population but leaves the political contours of the state’s four districts almost identical.

The Jackson-based court drew the current Congressional districts in 2002 and amended those lines in a judgment made official Dec. 30. The state Legislature failed to agree on new Congressional lines last year and, subsequently, the court stepped in.

The new map is not subject to preclearance by the Department of Justice. Pamela Weaver, a spokeswoman for the Mississippi secretary of state, said the lines would be used in the 2012 Congressional elections.

The partisan breakdown of the state’s House delegation in the 113th Congress is almost certain to remain the same: three Republicans and one Democrat all representing safe districts. The only Member who might not return next year is freshman Rep. Steven Palazzo (R), who is vulnerable to a primary challenge. The filing deadline in the state is Jan. 13.

In its judgment, the court ordered the state to use the new map in subsequent Congressional elections “until such time as the State of Mississippi produces a constitutional congressional redistricting plan …”

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