Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Tea-Publican tyranny and authoritarianism are run amok in Arizona again this week. The Tea-Publican controlled legislature is suing the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (AIRC), arguing that the voter approved Proposition 106 (2000) to the state constitution that created the AIRC violates the U.S. Constitution. And even though only Tea-Publicans argue this for their partisan political advantage, they are using your tax dollars to overturn the will of the voters. Arizona Legislature challenges redistrict commission:
The Arizona Legislature went to federal court Thursday to challenge the authority of the Independent Redistricting Commission to draw congressional boundaries.
The lawsuit argues only the 90-member Legislature can create new districts for Arizona's congressional delegation.
The suit follows through on a legislative vote last month giving House and Senate leaders permission to sue. It passed with only Republican votes. The suit joins three others contesting various aspects of the commission's work.
* * *
House Speaker Andy Tobin, R-Paulden, and other lawmakers want a three-judge federal panel to take up the matter. Ultimately, he said, he wants to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court to clarify the law nationwide.
"The U.S. Constitution clearly defines that only elected officials, an elected body, can draw the lines," he said.
Although this is the second time the independent commission has drawn new maps, there was no challenge a decade ago. Tobin said that's because there was no "outcry" from citizens.
"They felt the process was done correctly last time," he said.
That's bullshit! It was because Republicans controlled the 2002 AIRC and got everything they wanted and more out of it. It's all fun and games until they don't get what they want, then they want to take their ball and go home unless the rules of the game are changed to their advantage.
By the way, the 2002 AIRC was sued by several minority groups who initially succeeded in demonstrating that the original maps of the 2002 AIRC intentionally discriminated against minority voters (the U.S. Department of Justice had issued a rejection of the maps as well for the same reason). A different set of maps was approved by the Court for the 2004 election and thereafter.
After more than seven years in litigation the Court issued a ruling in which the Court essentially threw up its hands and said "Screw it! Redistricting is right around the corner, get it right the next time."
So when Andy Tobin says citizens "felt the process was done correctly last time," he is full-o-crap.
This lawsuit suit comes after two lawsuits filed last month by the GOP's secretive redistricting organization FAIR Trust which challenges both the new legislative and congressional maps.
The reporting on this lawsuit has been horrible. Reporting earlier this year was much better. Here is a portion of what I posted earlier this year. AIRC Update: Tea-Publican deadbeats seek to litigate with your taxpayer dollars:
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 ex rel Davis v. Hildebrant, 241 U.S. 565 - FindLaw | Cases and Codes 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.
* * *
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!