House Minority Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr., R-Norwalk, conceded today that the Supreme Court’s instructions to its special master on redistricting appears to echo a key Democratic argument: new congressional districts can be drawn with minimal changes to the existing map.

But Cafero said he also sees room for the special master, Professor Nathaniel Persily of Columbia, to still make some of the significant changes sought by the GOP.

The instructions say “the Special Master shall modify the existing congressional districts only to the extent reasonably required to comply with the following applicable legal requirements…”

Those requirements are that the districts be equal in population, consist of contiguous territory and meet “other applicable provisions of the Voting Rights Act and federal law.”

Cafero said he believes some of the changes suggested by the Republicans are “reasonably required” to meet all the legal requirements of drawing a new map.

“I don’t think the court would put themselves, the various parties, the state through the time and, most importantly, the expense of hiring attorneys, filing briefs, making arguments and hiring a special master of the caliber of Nate Persily all to tell him go into the back room with a calculator and just move 23,000 people” to equalize the districts’ population, he said.

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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