3-Judge panel looking at redistricting today

JACKSON, Miss. — Three federal judges will hear arguments Tuesday to determine whether they should redraw Mississippi’s four congressional districts or leave the job up to legislators.

Time is tight. The 2012 session, with a new crop of legislators and a new Republican majority in the state House, begins Jan. 3. That’s only 10 days before the congressional candidates’ qualifying deadline for the March 13 primaries.

The four U.S. House districts must be adjusted to reflect population changes revealed by the 2010 Census. With Mississippi’s population of 2.9 million, each district should have 741,824 people.

The majority-black 2nd District must pick up residents, and the other three must lose some, according to court documents.