Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Redistricting -- Supplemental Appropriation or go to court?

Saturday's Arizona Republic reports that the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission will wait a few more business days before heading to court. On the off chance the legislature gets a stroke of conscience and actually appropriates additional funding to allow the AIRC to continue operation, that is.

On Friday, Bladine said he would wait at least until Wednesday to sue, since he's received some assurances from lawmakers that the panel might get some extra funding.
In a letter to the five members of Commission, Bladine explained the current state of affairs, what he has done to brief the legislature this week and give them his best insight. From Bladine's note to members, 
A letter will be sent today or Monday to Arizona State Treasurer Doug Ducey indicating the need for the continued payment of our bills if a supplemental appropriation is not forthcoming.
We will continue to work with the legislature to avoid litigation and additional taxpayer expense regarding this matter.
On Arizona Horizon's Friday Journalists' Roundtable, Howie Fischer noted the irony of the AIRC perhaps having to sue for funding, which they would, of course, win -- but that it would, in doing so, rack up additional legal fees that the hostile legislature would refuse to pay.

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And so the drama that is the INSANE, GROTESQUE and PATHETIC display of elected despotism at the Arizona State Capitol goes on another day, or week, or season. Until the people of Arizona RISE UP and reclaim the state by vigorous exercise of civil liberties. (FIRST Amendment remedies, that is).

So brazen are these despots, like Andy Biggs, that they dare put their own voice on record during official floor proceedings of the senate declaring that, pursuant to the US Constitution, it is -- he says -- the Arizona State Government which is sovereign.

Biggs is conveniently oblivious to the purpose of James Madison's (Founding Father and principal author of the US Constitution) extensive writings. 
He was the principal author of the US Constitution, and is often called the “Father of the Constitution”. In 1788, he wrote over a third of the Federalist Papers, the most influential commentary on the Constitution. The first president to have served in the United States Congress, he was a leader in the 1st United States Congress, drafting many basic laws, and was responsible for the first ten amendments to the Constitution and thus is also known as the “Father of the Bill of Rights”. As a political theorist, Madison’s most distinctive belief was that the new republic needed checks and balances to protect individual rights from the tyranny of the majority. (emphasis mine)
Think about that. States rights -- in the US Constitution -- as envisioned by Madison, was a mechanism to keep in check the tyranny of the majority. Yet, on the state level, Andy Biggs is ALL ABOUT tyranny of the (manipulated) majority. The context of Biggs' remarks on this very subject, last Tuesday, was that the state legislature had THE RIGHT, codified and justified by the US Constitution, to tyrannically impose its will on the political subdivisions (cities, towns and counties) of Arizona.

Biggs made his comments in explaining his vote in favor of a measure to prohibit political subdivisions from using photo radar (SCR1029). He had the audacity to verbally thumb his nose at Arizona cities, towns and counties -- all in the name of states rights. And fourteen of his senate colleagues agreed with him. This time, a couple of Republicans dared to disagree. Since sixteen votes are needed to pass anything out of the senate, the measure was defeated. But no bill is truly dead before the session ends.

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Excerpts from John Nichols' UPRISING

Constraints on leaders, both structural and political, were necessary because, as Madison observed, "Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations. -- page 25 
The revolt that swept Wisconsin... had its truest roots in the long hot constitutional summer of 1787 and the even longer striving to form a republic where citizens would have the authority to check and balance the factions that might turn the governing process into a tool of the economic elites.
America is still occupied with the great struggle between the Madisonian faithful, operating on the founding premise that the people are the only certain defenders of the republic, and those who would consolidate power for political and financial gain... "Independence can be trusted nowhere but with the people in mass." -- page 23
But the truest accomplishment of the protests in Madison and cities across Wisconsin was that they renewed an understanding of citizens not merely as voters in elections but as active censors of an elected despotism that can never be allowed to go unchallenged.  -- page 39
It is certainly true that nothing so horrifies today's false constitutionalists as the actual exercise of civil liberties. -- page 19
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The funding crisis facing Arizona's Independent Redistricting Commission is a fundamental struggle between the will of the people and the elected despots of the GOP supermajority fighting to keep the power of which they have grown accustomed. 

This supplemental appropriation and the reluctance of those elected despots like Andy Biggs to provide it represents the same struggle and tension that Madison foresaw more than two centuries ago.

Today's civil rights struggles -- on the issues of gay rights, women's reproductive health care and providing affordable health care to all Americans -- are simply a continuation of the struggles and tensions that have faced our country from the very start. The Founders were wise in crafting the Constitution. But the bonds of tyranny carried over from the entirety of human civilization were not immediately broken when the new nation was born. 

But I digress. And unfortunately, the elected despotism of the GOP supermajority in Arizona, and the John Boehner led Congress seek to cause our society to digress.

We must not let that happen.

2 comments:

  1. Sheriff Arpaio will save us from this. He is the best investigator in AZ. He's the Batman of the wild wild west.

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    Replies
    1. I'm not sure if this was intended to be humorous/sarcastic or serious. I'll take it as sarcasm. It makes sense that way. :)

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