Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Redistricting -- no supplemental briefs today UPDATED 7:30pm MST

Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission legal counsel Mary O'Grady continues to work on supplemental briefs for commission filings in state Supreme Court but none have been or will be filed today, she told the Arizona Eagletarian moments ago. This despite rumors circulating around the Capitol today.

Jennifer Liewer, chief communications officer for the Supreme Court notified the press that the following order has been issued by the court:

“Chief Justice Berch having recused herself from this matter, IT IS ORDERED appointing Justice Michael D. Ryan (retired) to sit on this matter.”Ordered by Vice Chief Justice Andrew Hurwitz
Further, as many have already inquired, Liewer said that no meetings have been set for the Appellate Courts Commission on Appointments.


I also heard from a person who listened to radio station KKNT on the way home from work this evening. The station which bills itself as "Intelligent Conservative Talk" airs at 960 AM in the Phoenix area. Afternoon drive host Hugh Hewitt apparently interviewed Governor Jan today. Jan reportedly told Hugh that she intends to remove Democrats Linda McNulty and Jose Herrera from the AIRC. Hewitt's website indicates a transcript of his conversation with Jan will be posted later this evening.


Listening to people speak in the AIRC Public Outreach Hearings has been enlightening in a number of ways. One very clear observation I've made is that many people say things like "I can see no logic behind this decision you made for splitting..." this or that "community of interest." Or, "what in the world could Avondale have in common with Yuma," or variations on those themes.

The most ironic thing about what those citizens have to say is that each seems to assume that the state legislature, if it still had the authority to draw district lines, would give two spits what these citizens want.  These people have been duped into attacking the citizen volunteers in the hope that things will be different if the AIRC was undermined.

Get real. If the legislature draws lines, the ONLY consideration is how can they protect their own jobs. They would do the very minimum they could to comply with provisions of the Voting Rights Act or any other requirement. It's ALL about self-interest, from their point-of-view.

ANY citizen who thinks what Brewer and the state senate did yesterday was for ANY purpose OTHER than their own self-interest, is tragically mistaken. Those who have advocated for undermining the AIRC have been used by those pols.

IF a panel of judges draws the lines, it will NOT give the time and consideration to the concerns of citizens.   A panel of judges is going to do as little the can get away with. There is NO way a panel of judges is going to be able to dedicate themselves, full-time for months at a time to the process. So, the end product will be something akin to rolling the dice and hoping they don't come up snake-eyes.


Crazy Jack Harper (state representative, R-Surprise) addressed the AIRC hearing this evening and the only significant thing he had to say was to address Vice-Chair Herrera as "technically now, co-chair."  Harper, who spent 8 years in the Arizona Senate, was only an observer, at most for the senate's sham removal procedure last night.


Today's Yellow Sheet Report includes quotes from ASU law professor Paul Bender on the Mathis' removal.

Feelings about joining the IRC were mixed among the previous applicants. ASU law professor Paul Bender said he believes the Arizona Supreme Court should and will overturn Mathis’ ouster, and until that situation is settled, he doesn’t think it’s a “relevant question” whether he’d be interested in the job. “If anybody calls me, I’ll think about it at that time. But I’m not going to think about it now, because I think what the governor and the Legislature have done is outrageous, and I assume the courts are going to strike it down,” he said. “I don’t want to get into anything that would suggest that what the Legislature did had any validity, and no one should think it does and no one should act upon the assumption that it does.” Bladine said he’s got his hands full being executive director for the IRC and wouldn’t be interested in transitioning from paid staffer to volunteer chairman. Immigration attorney Margarita Silva said she would still be interested in the position, though she said it is premature to speculate on the matter until after the courts sort out Mathis’ appeal. She said recent events would give her pause about accepting the job, but she would likely still consider it if asked. “Anybody who would get involved with that would know what they’re in for. I don’t think anybody envisioned this happening, but now that we’ve seen it happen, I think you have to be prepared for anything,” she said. The last of the final five, Kimber Lanning, could not be reached for comment. If the appellate commission reaches back to the original 10 finalists for the job, it might not find many takers. Doug Campos-Outcalt and Catherine Castle told our reporter that they simply don’t have the time, while Adolfo Echeveste, the president of the Arizona Latin American Medical Association in Phoenix (who was executive director of the first IRC), said he would be wary of taking the post after seeing what happened to Mathis. “I’d have to think long and hard, given the interference from the Legislature and the Governor’s Office and the state attorney general. I don’t understand what they understand about the word ‘independent,’” Echeveste said. In order for him to accept the job, he said he would need some kind of guarantee that the Legislature and governor wouldn’t interfere with his work. Another applicant, Linda Spears, is no longer eligible to serve on the IRC because she is running for mayor of Tempe. Applicant Timothy Overton could not be reached for comment.

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