Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest 6/30/15… Supreme Court upholds independent redistricting in Arizona

Reposted from Daily Kos Elections by Jeff Singer

Arizona’s congressional map remains intact

Leading Off:

• Redistricting: Advocates for redistricting reform scored a crucial victory Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Arizona’s Independent Redistricting Commission. Passed by voters in 2000 in an effort to remove legislators from the redistricting process, the commission was imperiled by the GOP’s rabid desire to abolish it. Republicans tried everything the could over the last few years to undermine the panel (even impeaching its leader, a move later undone by the courts) so that they could draw that state’s maps for themselves—exactly what voters did not want them doing. Fortunately, it’s not to be.

At issue in this case was the meaning of an important clause in Article I of the constitution that governs the rules regarding congressional elections. It states the following:

The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.

Republican state legislators, who were the plaintiffs in this case, contended that the word “legislature” means the literal representative legislature, which would preclude the voters themselves from directly instituting rules that would determine the electoral rules. Legal scholars were divided over the issue, but some of them provided very compelling reasons to agree with the defendants, which was the commission itself.

These observers argued that the concept of the legislature also encompasses the electorate, saying the term does not refer to a specific representative body but rather to those who are empowered to make laws. In a state that permits citizens to put forth ballot initiative like Arizona, this means the voters themselves, and the Supreme Court agreed with this interpretation….

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5 thoughts on “Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest 6/30/15… Supreme Court upholds independent redistricting in Arizona”

  1. Arizona Republicans would have liked the ruling to go the other way, but if that had happened, it is likely that California Democrats would then also have drawn new maps to get more House seats in 2016.

    More significantly, this Court precedent could come into play the next time Illinois draws its maps, as Governor Rauner has been calling for it to be done by an independent commission.

  2. Corey, you will be happy to know that I signed a petition over the weekend for an independent commission to end gerrymandering in Illinois – even though gerrymandering benefits Dems in Illinois. Frankly, this should be the law of the land countrywide, even though I have no doubt that at least one party (Republicans) will only oppose gerrymandering in states where this hurts them.

  3. I’m in favor of Independent redistricting commissions in all states.

    I’m not holding my breath of course.

  4. California’s independent redistricting commission is here to stay. We like it that way, and in the end it has already maximized the number of Democratic seats. This is potentially a huge decision that could help Democrats across the country – besides being the right thing to do.

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