The New Hampshire Legal Rights Foundation (NHLRF) today filed a lawsuit in the Merrimack Superior Court asking for an injunction that will, if granted, force redistricting for the state House of Representatives before elections can be held. The suit requests that the court declare that the present districts violate Part II, Article 11 of the state constitution. It also asks for an injunction against holding elections until the redistricting required by the state constitution is completed.

    The section of the New Hampshire constitution involved was passed by more than the required 2/3 vote in the 2006 election. Since that time two attempts have been made by implement the redistricting requirement. Both were defeated in the state House of Representatives. The sponsor of the first redistricting attempt, state representative Neal Kurk from Weare, is now one of nine individual petitioners who include current and former members of the state house, boards of selectmen, planning boards, school boards and the state Human Rights Commission from various towns. They are joined by six towns, including Canaan, Enfield, Litchfield, Loudon, Weare, and Wilton. All are disenfranchised by the failure of the House of Representatives to perform the redistricting required by the state constitution. The provision mandates that each town with sufficient population is entitled to a representative elected from the residents of that town. Currently 106 of New Hampshire's 221 incorporated towns and cities are denied their right to have their own representative.

    "The constitutional provision passed in 2006 is merely a return to historical norms," stated attorney William O'Brien, executive director of the NHLRF and one of the team of lawyers working on the suit, including New Hampshire attorney Ed Mosca as well as Florida attorney and New Hampshire resident Timothy Condon. All are members of the board of directors of the NHLRF. Other members of the board of directors include state Representative Robert Rowe, former state reps Paul Mirski and Richard "Stretch" Kennedy, and Robert Hull, a businessman and resident of the town of Grafton.

    "Our state constitution historically has guaranteed that eachtown, no matter how small in population, should have its own representative one way or another," explained former representative Mirski. "But since the redistricting by the state Supreme Court in 2002, that history has largely been forgotten. This lawsuit is an effort to force implementation of the new constitutional provision passed  in 2006, which merely returns our state to its historical representative roots."

    The lawsuit petition asks that the current state house districts be declared to be unconstitutional, and asks for preliminary and permanent injunctions together with expedited hearings in the action. "We don't want to delay the elections if at all possible," said O'Brien. "Unfortunately, the current state house districts are in violation of our constitution, and thus any election held without redistricting would also be unconstitutional."

    The NHLRF is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, membership organization dedicated to "defending and expanding individual rights and personal freedoms in New Hampshire" as well as "reducing  the burdens of government while defending human and civil rights" through advocacy in the courts, according to its web site found at Litigation projects undertaken by the organization will be handled byvolunteer lawyers much like other nonprofit legal advocacy offices such as the ACLU, Institute for Justice, and Individual Rights Foundation.

    "We intend to bring actions that will benefit all the citizens of New Hampshire," said attorney O'Brien. Areas of interest to the organization and its volunteer lawyers include freedom of speech, religion, and association; due process rights and equal protection under the law, as well as the right to be free from unwarranted government controls and demands. "We believe that the state of NewHampshire has the best constitution of any state," continued O'Brien."Our constitution is unique in its concentration on individual rights. We don't want the people of New Hampshire to lose those guarantees."