Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Redistricting -- Supreme Court filings UPDATED 2pm MST

The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, subsequent to the unprecedented GOP power grab yesterday, filed a special action last night requesting the Arizona Supreme Court block the power grab.

You may read those initial filings here and here.

Those documents were written from the perspective that the governor had not yet issued any letter saying that she intended to remove any commissioners, but that the AIRC kept hearing throughout the day that the proceeding was imminent. When a judge indicated yesterday that it was too late in the day for Maricopa County Superior Court to take any action, they took those filings to the Supreme Court.

AIRC counsel Mary O'Grady advised the Arizona Eagletarian this afternoon that she is now working on briefs specifically for the Arizona Supreme Court but expects not to have them ready to file today.

The GOP power grab has caught the attention and imagination of citizens and media throughout the country. Some of that coverage can be read in:

New York Times

USA Today

Huffington Post

The Daily Beast

PBS Newshour

Phoenix New Times

In the meantime, AIRC spokesman Stuart Robinson issued a release indicating that remaining second round Public Outreach Hearings will take place as planned. Tonight, the commission will hear from citizens in Peoria, tomorrow in Scottsdale, Friday in Sells and Marana. The final hearings will take place Saturday in Green Valley and Casa Grande.

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UPDATE

The AIRC hearing in Cottonwood just adjourned. Next up is this evening in Peoria.

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In the event the Arizona Supreme Court fails to stay the action of the state senate in its removal of Mathis from the AIRC, speculation has already begun as to what happens next.

Pursuant to the Arizona Constitution,
(11) If a commissioner or chair does not complete the term of office for any reason, the commission on appellate court appointments or its designee shall nominate a pool of three candidates within the first thirty days after the vacancy occurs. The nominees shall be of the same political party or status as was the member who vacated the office at the time of his or her appointment, and the appointment other than the chair shall be made by the current holder of the office designated to make the original appointment. The appointment of a new chair shall be made by the remaining commissioners. If the appointment of a replacement commissioner or chair is not made within fourteen days following the presentation of the nominees, the commission on appellate court appointments or its designee shall make the appointment, striving for political balance and fairness. The newly appointed commissioner shall serve out the remainder of the original term.
The next step would be action by the Appellate Courts Commission on Appointments to nominate three candidates, within 30 days.

That, of course, takes us to December. Speculation in print has had the process delaying until January when replacements for members of that commission (whose terms are or already have expired can be replaced by Brewer). With additional Brewer appointees, there would be little opposition to choice of nominees that would be politically favorable independents (whose loyalties and values are clearly with the Republican Party). I wonder if they need to wait that long before getting the desired candidate.

Ideally, a chairman candidate would be already familiar with the process, have a strong personality (to bowl over Democrats McNulty and Herrera) and have an extremely short learning curve. Can one reasonably infer that David Cantelme or perhaps screening panel member Doug Cole has already been in touch with former AIRC chair Steve Lynn about the possibility?

Arizonans familiar with the process can already draw out the ensuing scenario. It's plausible, even if the players have not yet been approached.

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