Having considered all pleadings filed to date in this matter, the Court, en banc, decides as follows:
IT IS ORDERED denying Petitioner Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission’s Motion to Stay Removal Order.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED granting Colleen Coyle Mathis’s Motion to Intervene as Petitioner in the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission’s Amended Petition for Special Action and Declaratory Injunctive Relief. The clerk is directed to amend the case name accordingly.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED denying Motion to Intervene by Arizona Independent Redistricting Commissioners Linda McNulty and José Herrera. The Court will treat the pleadings filed by theseindividuals as amicus briefs and hereby recognize Ms. McNulty and Mr. Herrera as amici curiae.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Respondents may each file a single, consolidated response to the petitions of Petitioner Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission and Petitioner Mathis.Petitioners may each file a single, consolidated reply. Each party may respond to any amicus briefs in a single, consolidated response.
The ramifications of today's rulings will unfold over the next few days. No doubt numerous news stories and columns will emerge with varying degrees of speculation, sorting out and guessing what today's ruling signals in probabilities for the ultimate ruling on the request to overturn the removal.
There will also be various amicus briefs, which must be filed by 5pm Friday.
At minimum, this ruling indicates Colleen Mathis, having been granted intervenor status, becomes an official petitioner in this case. Because they will not be granted intervenor status, Commissioners McNulty and Herrera will be considered friends of the court. Anything they file in the case will be considered at amicus briefs, including what they have already filed.
AIRC Public Information Officer Stuart Robinson moments ago sent the following statement in response to today's Supreme Court ruling:
We will work with the vice chairmen to see how the commission should proceed while the Arizona Supreme Court resolves the important legal issues in dispute. In the meantime, we will continue processing the tremendous amount of input the commission received during the public comment period.-----
Arizona state Rep. Tom Chabin (D-Flagstaff) posted the following on his facebook profile to put a little bit of perspective on this ruling:
This is not an unexpected result in light of the appellate court commission's schedule for choosing a new chair and the supreme court's briefing and oral argument schedule. As you know, the deadline to submit applications for IRC chair to the appellate commission is November 15th and the deadline for that commission to submit nominees to the IRC is December 1st. The supreme court will hear oral argument on the merits of the IRC's case on November 17th. So, by allowing the removal to stand for now, the court is making sure there is no confusion if it ultimately decides that the removal was lawful. I think the court was trying to avoid a possible situation in which it allowed Mathis to resume the chairmanship now, but then ruled that she was lawfully removed, which would have delayed the appellate commission's actions in finding nominees for IRC chair and pushing it up against its December 1st deadline, as well as raising questions about the effect of Mathis' actions while she was put back on the IRC before she was ultimately removed by the courts. By denying the stay request, the court will allow the replacement process to continue and if it ultimately rules that the removal was unlawful, then the appellate commission can simply stop its work on finding a replacement and no one is harmed.