Less than 36 hours after receiving a cold shoulder and a warmed over list of 25 candidates qualified to become Independent Redistricting Commissioners, Arizona's GOP legislative leaders filed suit in the Arizona Supreme Court asking that the screening panel be smacked on the hand and told to provide a list of 25 names they like better.
Basically, a temper tantrum written in lawyerspeak.
In the meeting yesterday morning, the panel had lively discussion about what seemed to be the crux of the disagreement with the Pearce and Adams. Most simply put, what is the definition of "public office" as it relates to the Independent Redistricting Commission? The Arizona Constitution clearly says that IRC commissioners may not hold "public office." It also clearly excludes school boards from the definition. But it does not otherwise define the term.
It just so happens that three of the 25 people on the list engage in public service that could possibly be considered holding "public office." Two of those people are Republicans who Pearce and Adams LIKE and might even, under some circumstances, choose to appoint to the IRC. The other is an Independent.
The technicality about which they quibble is that Independent Paul Bender serves as a volunteer, part-time judge on tribal courts in Arizona. Republicans Mark Schnepf and Stephen Sossaman serve on water district boards. None of those positions would present the kind of conflict of interest the writers of Prop 106 envisioned as the reason to exclude public officers.
What do Pearce and Adams not dare state explicitly? Perhaps their fear that Bender's experience in election and redistricting law, his alleged liberal political views, and his overall gravitas, will prevent the two of them from exercising any influence over the work of the IRC once it actually gets down to business?
What do you think would happen if King Russell actually came clean about his underlying motives?