State, Bridgeport NAACPs to head to court over redistricting

At a meeting in Bridgeport tonight members of the city’s and state’s chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People decided to seek an injunction to prevent the state from imposing a redistricting plan on the 22nd and 23rd legislative districts.

The gyst of their complaint? A bunch of white Democratic legislative leaders in Hartford conspired to shift substantial numbers of minority voters out of the 23rd (represented by Democratic Sen. Edwin Gomes, pictured below at the meeting) into the 22nd (represented by Democratic Sen. Anthony Musto) to fend off Republican advances in the latter.

The NAACPs are being advised by John Brittain, a Washington D.C.-based attorney/law professor who was the original counsel in the landmark Sheff v. O’Neill school desegregation case in Connecticut in 1996.

To give you readers a taste of the tone of the meeting, Brittain kicked off his explanation of the merits of the redistricting case with the following statement: “Some white Democrats take black voters for granted.”

Here’s my full report.

Also in the crowd Thursday was Ernest Newton, who represented the 23rd district until he was forced to step down six years ago because of a federal corruption conviction. Newton in an interview in January said he wants the seat back.

Brian Lockhart