Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Friday, October 28, 2011

Redistricting -- Brazen GOP "leadership"

Reports of brazenly outrageous conduct by GOP legislative leadership continue to emerge in light of the Joint Committee on Interfering with Independent Redistricting and Jan Brewer's declaration of war against the commission.

The Arizona Capitol Times reported that GOP staffer Greg Jernigan invoked the "G" word (gerrymandering) today in testimony before the Joint Committee. The Yellow Sheet reported
Schapira and Campbell [Democratic legislative leaders] were eager to offer their thoughts from the hallway outside the committee hearing room. “I don’t think a taxpayer-funded staffer should be making political assertions that are unfounded and slanderous in public testimony in committee. It just shows what a dog-and-pony show this committee really is,” Schapira said. “The fact that they’re using staff to make baseless partisan attacks underscores everything we’ve said about this committee, which is that it’s a complete joke,” Campbell said. “John Mills is nothing more than a Republican Party staffer being paid for with taxpayer dollars, and apparently so is Jernigan.”
Since plenty of rank and file Republican voters (and tea partiers) will hear about this testimony (or already have) either on this blog or from YS readers, let's see how much outrage they show over this particular brand of partisan activity on the taxpayer's dime.

We also know that typically intellectual GOP leaders like Sarah Palin and Jan Brewer make sure they weigh all of their options and try to calculate the fallout of decisions they make that will impact their constituencies, right? (rolling my eyes)

We know that Russell Pearce has brazenly embraced the tea party in his "leadership" of the state senate. We also know that Jan Brewer cemented her lock on the GOP gubernatorial nomination last year by embracing tea party causes (except for the temporary sales tax).

While we know that the tea party has asserted itself in Arizona politics in other ways (AZ GOP chair Tom Morrissey's vision statement includes affirmation of the tea party), we have to wonder if she's at all interested in academic research on the latest political trends. Researchers at Notre Dame and Harvard found very pronounced and increasing distaste for tea party politics. Professors Campbell and Putnam wrote, in the New York Times:

On everything but the size of government, Tea Party supporters are increasingly out of step with most Americans, even many Republicans. Indeed, at the opposite end of the ideological spectrum, today’s Tea Party parallels the anti-Vietnam War movement which rallied behind George S. McGovern in 1972. The McGovernite activists brought energy, but also stridency, to the Democratic Party — repelling moderate voters and damaging the Democratic brand for a generation. By embracing the Tea Party, Republicans risk repeating history.
Given what she wrote in her declaration of war against the AIRC, I'm guessing she has NOT put any work into figuring out what will happen when she pokes voters in the eye by subverting INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING. She has not taken the temperature of the Arizona electorate. Granted, Occupy Wall Street protests, even though they have spread throughout the country and have resulted in confrontations in several states, including Arizona, have not reached the ferocity of those that toppled regimes in northern Africa and the Middle East. But with it becoming increasingly obvious to all those who can see the forest beyond the trees, has Jan considered the potential ramifications? I doubt it.

The bottom line is that she has listened ONLY to the most rabid partisans. But not all of the ones in Arizona she should have consulted before issuing her declaration.

Speaker Andy Tobin told the Yellow Sheet he was upset Brewer did not tell him she was going to "launch an attack against the IRC." Tobin then claimed it was just a family squabble, an obvious attempt to minimize the damage to public perception. One has to wonder how big his family's Thanksgiving gatherings get?

This is all part of the game of chicken being awkwardly orchestrated by Gov. Jan.

On KAET's Horizon tonight, Howie Fischer, Dennis Welch, Mike Sunnucks and Ted Simons explored the possible scenarios that could happen depending on what Brewer decides to do about the AIRC. But NONE of them could see past the nose on their face.

They did NOT look down the road. How this will impact anything Jan wants?

Have ANY of them been at the Capitol at all in the last few months? Have they noticed ANY beautification work taking place anywhere along the Capitol Mall?

Is anyone planning anything for February 14, 2012? A scant 109 days from now Arizona will "celebrate" one hundred years of statehood.

If Jan, Andy and Russell blow up the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission or put roadblocks in the way to delay adoption of new district maps, are they naive enough to think the turmoil fade away before it spoils the celebration?  109 days from now... with plenty of events leading up to the big day.

Which will be Jan's legacy?


Remember UNfair Trust? They too are playing a precarious game of chicken with voters.

The clandestine group (which includes our illustrious GOP Congressional delegation, most of whom have a great deal to lose depending on the Congressional district map) has it's main mouthpiece egging on the Joint Committee, trying to parse the US Constitution.

David Cantelme testified today that Constitutional language prevents anyone except state legislatures from drawing Congressional district lines. Again, reported by the Yellow Sheet,
FAIR Trust attorney David Cantelme brandished an argument at today’s hearing that’s been gaining traction with IRC critics – that the U.S. Constitution prohibits anyone besides the Legislature from drawing congressional districts. Cantelme cited Article 1 Section 4, which says, “The time, place and manner of holding elections for senators and representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the Legislature thereof.” “The question is whether the U.S. Constitution allows a commission, rather than a Legislature, to draw congressional districts,” Cantelme said. “It is clear that Article 1 Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution vests authority in the Legislature to draw congressional districts.” But ASU constitutional law professor Paul Bender told our reporter it’s not clear at all. The Constitution doesn’t make any references to redistricting and doesn’t require redistricting, he said. Subsequent U.S. Supreme Court rulings have stipulated that districts must adhere to the one-person-one-vote principle, but doesn’t deal with how the districts are created. In fact, some states originally elected their congressional representatives at-large, and didn’t draw districts at all. Bender said he doesn’t think the term “manner of electing … representatives” includes districting. And if it does, he said, it would open the door to a lot more federal control over state election processes. “If you read it their way, then Congress could redistrict the states,” Bender said.
The YS reporter(s) consulted with former AIRC counsel Lisa Hauser, who said the issue did not come up in the last redistricting and she's not sure there is any case law on the issue. Cantelme apparently was adament.
Bender said the framers of the Constitution used the term “legislature” to refer to a democratic process, as opposed to an executive one. And he noted that in Arizona, legislative actions are all subject to citizen referendum anyway.
Stay tuned folks.


On Blog for Arizona, Arizona Blue Meanie expounded today on some of these revelations.

If the allegations in this press release are true, our Republican elected officials are engaged in a conspiracy to violate the Arizona Constitution (the Independent Redistricting Commission, Prop. 106, a citizens initiative enacted by the voters of Arizona) for purely partisan political advantage. This is an impeachable offense for executive officers, e.g., the Governor and Attorney General, and grounds for recall of state legislators (federal elected officials are not subject to recall). The remedy is meaningless, however, because they are all co-conspirators in this violation of the Arizona Constitution.
It may be time to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice.
He's referring to press releases sent by the Arizona Democratic Party, posted on his blog (linked above).


  1. Keep up the good work Steve. Other than writing to Gov. Brewer telling her to keep her hands off the IRC, what can the public do?

  2. You can also call your state lawmakers to tell them to lay off the AIRC.

  3. Calling MY State lawmakers not likely to help, they are Al Melvin, Terry Proud, & Vic Williams.

  4. I recommend calling them ANYWAY. Not necessarily to "ask" but to assert that they need to back off. In addition, people should call Senate Pres. Russell Pearce's office, House Speaker Andy Tobin's office.

    And that's just for starters.

    Organize and protest. Politely, if you'd prefer, but assert what you want your elected officials to do because they REPRESENT YOU.