UPDATE: Court hearing begins on constitutionality of Missouri's congressional map

Tuesday, January 31, 2012 | 5:46 p.m. CST

JEFFERSON CITY — A Missouri political science professor says the state's new congressional districts could have been more compact.

University of Missouri-St. Louis associate professor David Kimball was Tuesday's first witness in a Cole County Circuit Court hearing on the constitutionality of the state's new U.S. House districts.

Kimball said districts proposed under an alternative map would have been more compact than those ultimately approved by state lawmakers. He also testified the map could be characterized as gerrymandered, meaning districts were drawn to give one political party an advantage.

The Missouri Supreme Court ordered further legal review of the congressional districts earlier this month and set a Friday deadline for a decision.

Several witnesses testified Tuesday on behalf of those challenging the new map. The hearing is to resume Wednesday morning.