Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Tucson City Council Votes To Appeal Ruling That Election System Is Unconstitutional

Posted By on Wed, Nov 18, 2015 at 11:27 AM

The Tucson City Council voted 5-0 yesterday to appeal the recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that the city's election system is unconstitutional. Council members Shirley Scott and Paul Cunningham recused themselves from voting on the decision because they are the targets of a lawsuit filed in Pima County Superior Court to strip them of their seats because, even though they won the citywide election, they lost within their wards.

Meanwhile, Arizona Republic conservative columnist Rob Robb says the Ninth Circuit got it wrong and chides Republicans for celebrating the victory:

State Republicans cheered a recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision striking down the city council election system in Tucson. In reality, however, the decision reflected the sort of judicial activism GOP orthodoxy decries.
More from Robb:
Now, there is a great question in municipal governance about how city councils should be elected. Should they be elected by district, ensuring diverse geographical representation and greater attention to local concerns? Or should they be elected citywide, to ensure that parochial interests don’t overwhelm what’s best for the city as a whole?

Some cities try to create a blend, electing some city council members by district and some at-large. And some use a so-called hybrid system such as Tucson’s, with nomination by district and election at-large. That, theoretically, results in all members of the council being attentive to both local and citywide concerns.

Political scientists can debate all day about which is best in what circumstances. But the notion that a hybrid system is per se unconstitutional, and cities can’t even consider using it, would strike the framers of the 14th Amendment as a perversion of their handiwork.

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