|Date: July 12, 2002||Contact: Laura Kiernan
Court Information Officer
CONCORDThe New Hampshire Supreme Court announced today that it has canceled oral arguments scheduled for July 17 and 18 in order to allow the time necessary for the justices to complete a redistricting plan for the House of Representatives.
Parties in the cases in which oral argument was canceled will have the opportunity to file written arguments to be considered by the justices in addition to previously filed legal briefs. The cases in which oral argument has been canceled will receive the same consideration they would have received if arguments had been made orally, rather than in writing, the court said.
The inability of the parties in the redistricting cases to provide the court with census data in a timely fashion, and subsequent disagreement among them about the datas accuracy, resulted in the courts taking the unusual step of canceling oral argument.
"In order for the court to complete its work in time for a 2002 House election, it is essential that we devote substantial time to the effort," Chief Justice David A. Brock said.
The delay by the parties in supplying the needed data means the court will not be able to complete a House plan by July 15, as it had expected. In orders issued today, the justices sought additional necessary data that had not yet been provided by the parties in the House redistricting case.
The courts decision to cancel two days of oral arguments, and permit written argument instead, will allow the justices to continue to meet time standards for issuing opinions, while also working on the House redistricting plan. Postponement of the July oral arguments to a future date would not only delay opinions in those cases but it would have interrupted the ongoing progress of other cases pending before the court.
"We want to serve the citizens of New Hampshire by providing them with a fair election process, but at the same time we dont want to cause delays in cases that were at the court before redistricting," Chief Justice Brock said.
Oral argument on the July 24 three-judge expedited docket will be held as scheduled.