Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Tea-Publicans in the Arizona legislature on Wednesday voted to spend your taxpayer dollars to subsidize their purely partisan litigation to reverse the voter-enacted citizens initiative creating the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, a double middle-finger to the voters of Arizona. GOP legislators vote to spend tax dollars on redistricting lawsuit - East Valley Tribune:
Republican lawmakers voted Wednesday to spend tax dollars to go to court to challenge the maps drawn by the Independent Redistricting Commission.
The vote, on what is likely to be the next-to-the-last day of the legislative session, comes even though two other lawsuits already have been filed — and are being financed — by outside interests. But proponents said the Legislature itself needs to file its own lawsuit, or, at the very least, formally intervene in the others.
Democrats, who voted against the measure, chided the GOP majority for wasting money, especially coming just a day after they insisted there was not enough money in the budget for things like restoring a health care program for the children of the working poor.
Wet behind the ears recent law school graduate Rep. Ted Vogt, R-Tucson, said there is an even clearer legal issue.
He pointed out that the U.S. Constitution says that the times, places and manners of electing members of Congress “shall be prescribed in each state by the Legislature thereof.”
“What could be more intrinsic to the manner of holding elections than actually drawing up the maps in which those representatives will run?” Vogt said.
“The initiative took this power from the Legislature,” he continued. “I don’t think you can do that. This needs to be litigated.”
Perhaps his law degree should be revoked. Let's hear from someone who actually knows what he is talking about, Paul Bender, a constitutional law professor at Arizona State University. GOP lawmakers seek to overturn redistricting commission’s authority to create maps | Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required):
Paul Bender, a constitutional law professor at Arizona State University, said he doesn’t think such a lawsuit has much merit.
The “times, places and manner” referred to in the Constitution refer to the actual machinations of elections, Bender said.
Further, Bender said “the Legislature” referenced in that section means the state government more broadly. Examples of this can be found in the several parts of the Arizona Constitution where election processes are described.
“It means whatever processes the state has established for elections,” Bender said. “It includes the state constitution and citizen initiatives.”
* * *
Bender said that such a lawsuit, if it were successful, would also have far-reaching effects for redistricting, and not just in Arizona. Five other states, California, Hawaii, Idaho, New Jersey and Washington, also have independent redistricting commissions.
The authority of those states’ commissions would also be called into question under the lawsuit proposed.
Further, Bender said, the next part of the same section of the Constitution states that “Congress may at any time by law make or alter such regulations…” Bender said that if the suit were successful in arguing that the section of the Constitution applies to redistricting, that Congress would be able to redraw states’ congressional districts, throwing the commonly held basics of redistricting practice into chaos.
The political gossip rag The Yellow Sheet Report (subscription required) also has this from Loyola Law School Professor Justin Levitt:
The underlying premise of the lawsuit is not unheard of among election law and redistricting experts, but experts tend to agree that such a lawsuit would have minimal chance of succeeding.
Loyola Law School Professor Justin Levitt, a regular contributor to electionlawblog.org said the premise is “not an unfamiliar theory,” but added that a disconnect between the U.S. Constitution and subsequent state constitutions and federal case law saps chances of victory. The U.S. Constitution was framed before the notion of citizen initiatives, which are included in progressive state constitutions like Arizona’s, and that early 20th century case law has interpreted Article 1, Section 4’s use of the term “legislature” to mean the “legislative process.”
A strict interpretation, he said, would preempt any influence, input or considerations from citizens, governors or even the courts. “They would essentially be arguing that the people can’t set the rules for redistricting,” said Levitt, adding that 1916 U.S. Supreme Court case law in State of Ohio on Relation of Davis v. Hildebrant upheld the use of the referendum process for redistricting in Ohio. “It fairly squarely decides that it’s okay for the people to exercise this power, despite the Constitutional grant of power over congressional redistricting to the ‘Legislature,’” Levitt said.
For a more recent example, Levitt said that the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals [in Diaz-Balart v. Scott] rejected the Florida Legislature’s objection to a ballot measure that applied to congressional redistricting. “I think it’s a longshot if [Art. 1, Sec. 4] means the Legislature and the Legislature only,” he said.
Back to Howard Fischer's report:
Less clear is whether the House and Senate votes on Wednesday will lead to a separate challenge of the lines for the 30 legislative districts.
There is no similar federal constitutional restriction on how those maps can be drawn. But Sen. Frank Antenori, R-Tucson, said the commission violated other rules in how it drew those lines and he believes that decision, too, should be challenged in court.
* * *
Tobin said he does not intend to try to affect the upcoming election, noting that the deadline for candidates to file nominating papers is the end of the month. But he figures if the court sides with the Legislature, it would free up lawmakers to at least draw congressional lines for the 2014 race.
That also is the case for a Republican-backed lawsuit already filed in state court challenging the procedures used to draw congressional lines.
But a separate lawsuit filed in federal court contesting the legislative lines seeks to have a three-judge panel draw a temporary map for use in this year’s election while the legality of the commission-drawn map is litigated.
* * *
Sen. Frank Antenori said he sees nothing wrong with having legislators draw boundaries for not only congressional districts but also their own districts, even if that means the majority craft lines designed to keep the GOP in control. “To the victors belong the spoils,” he said.
Which is exactly the authoritarian attitude and sense of entitlement that led voters to enact the citizens initiative creating the AIRC in the first place.
One issue I have not seen addressed in the reporting that I have seen is that the legislature can only use taxpayer money for lawsuits in support of or defense of legislation of importance to the legislature as a whole. The alleged "constitutional issue" being pursued by the Tea-Publicans in the Arizona legislature is motivated by political partisanship for purely partisan political advantage in elections.
In any joint legal representation, a conflict of interest and adverse interests may arise between litigants requiring separate legal representation. That conflict of interest and adverse interests between the Tea-Publican majority and the Democratic minority clearly exists here in spades, requiring separate legal counsel. The Tea-Publicans do not speak for the legislature as a whole -- despite their tyrannical beliefs to the contrary.
The Tea-Publicans ought to be required to spend their own money on their own lawyers for this purely partisan litigation. Yours and my tax dollars should not be subsidizing GOP lawsuits for purely partisan litigation, allowing these Tea-Publicans to escape having to pay one dime out of their own pockets for this litigation. Talk about deadbeats!
This move is as offensive as the Russell Pearce welfare check bill giving Pearce a windfall of taxpayer money for personal expenses that he did not incur in his recall campaign. These Tea-Publicans behave as if the state treasury is their own personal piggy bank to do with as they please for their own amusement. This is an abuse of power.