Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Redistricting: Date With Supreme Court Tomorrow

Posted By on Wed, Nov 16, 2011 at 11:00 AM

Arizona's redistricting battle hits the Arizona Supreme Court tomorrow afternoon.

If you've been following this one, you know that Gov. Jan Brewer, with an assist from the GOP caucus in the state Senate, bounced chairwoman Colleen Mathis from the Independent Redistricting Commission on Nov. 1.

Mathis and the IRC, which has the highly political job of drawing congressional and legislative maps for the next decade, are fighting back in court. Tomorrow, Arizona Supreme Court justices will hear arguments as to whether they should weigh in. I've got details in the print edition hitting streets today, which will be available online later today, or you can find more background here and here.

Brewer and her GOP allies charged that the draft maps drawn by the commission were unconstitutional. There's been plenty of pushback against that notion, including the argument that courts and not lawmakers or governors determine the constitutionality of political maps.

That said: The Grand Canyon Institute, a non-profit that supports the IRC, has examined the maps and concluded that they'd pass constitutional muster:

After careful analysis, we conclude that the IRC properly evaluated the six factors when it created the draft map. The draft map complies with the U.S. Constitution, and the IRC used considerable measures to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act. The IRC also properly considered the four additional factors outlined in the Arizona Constitution: respecting communities of interest, geographic compactness and contiguity, using geographic and municipal boundaries, and favoring competitiveness when it creates no significant detriment to other goals.

Governor Brewer and State Senate did not have a reasonable basis to remove Commissioner Mathis on the grounds she engaged in “gross misconduct” because the IRC failed to consider the factors outlined by the Arizona Constitution. We believe that the improper removal does substantial harm to the independence of the redistricting process.

Check out the details in a report here.

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