In Case No. 2002-0243, Petition of Senator Clifton Below & a., the court on May 17, 2002, issued the following order:

The parties having failed to notify the court by 12:00 noon today that a senate reapportionment plan has become law, it is hereby ordered that the statutory filing period for senate candidates is enjoined pending further order of the court. See RSA 655:14.

Based upon pleadings filed and representations made, the court has determined that May 22, 2002, is the last date by which the court will have assurance that a senate reapportionment plan will be validly enacted in time for the upcoming election. See Wilson v. Eu, 823 P.2d 545, 547 (Cal. 1992).

In order to guarantee that the citizens of New Hampshire have the opportunity to vote for senators in a constitutional election, the court will issue an order on or after May 23, 2002, outlining the process and schedule by which the court will establish a constitutional senate reapportionment plan.

The parties should be mindful that the United States Supreme Court has said that when a court is compelled to resolve a legislative impasse and adopt a reapportionment plan for the citizens, the court-ordered plan "must ordinarily achieve the goal of population equality with little more than de minimis variation." Chapman v. Meier, 420 U.S. 1, 26-27 (1975); see Colleton County Council, et al. v. Glenn F. McConnell, et al., No. 01-3581-10 (D.S.C. Mar. 20, 2002) (interpreting de minimus variation as plus or minus one percent).

Several motions, including motions to intervene and to appear as amicus curiae, are pending. We will take no action on these motions at this time.

Brock, C.J., and Nadeau, Dalianis and Duggan, JJ., concurred.

Eileen Fox,