The recent summary 'execution' of the Independent Chairperson of the Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) by the Governor and State Senate is not only a test of whether the Independence of the Commission will survive, it is test of the constitutional separation of powers in Arizona government.
Governor Brewer and the Arizona Legislature have recklessly thrown down a gauntlet challenging the power of the other two independent and co-equal branches of Arizona’s government under our state Constitution: the Courts and the Electorate.
Brewer and the Senate’s actions directly challenge the Courts by arrogating the right to interpret the terms of the Initiative which created the IRC (what constitutes gross misconduct under the IRC statute), and the right to determine if violations of the law have been committed (whether our State’s open meeting laws have been violated) - both functions are constitutionally apportioned to the Courts.
Brewer and the Senate are also clearly contravening the expressed will of the Electorate, which created by Initiative an independent constitutional body to insulate redistricting from exactly the sort of intimidation and meddling the removal of the IRC Chairperson represents.
Brewer and the Senate are hoping that the Courts will decline to become embroiled in the politics of redistricting more than they already are, and that the Electorate are so slothful and forgetful that they will not protest the abuse of power, and not punish the incumbents at the ballot box.
Brewer and the Senate clearly think they are being much more clever than they actually are. They seem hope that they can derail and delay the redistricting process with their ham-fisted power grab. By sowing confusion and delaying the new political districts they seek to sneak by the 2012 elections using the old district maps, thus keeping their super-majority intact.
Only if both the Courts and the Electorate fail to assert their Constitutional prerogatives can they possibly succeed.