Yesterday, in the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission's lawsuit on the GOP challenge to the legislative district map, parties met at the Sandra Day O'Connor federal courthouse in Phoenix for a case management conference.
I'm still trying to get more detailed information, but thus far I understand that the three-judge panel before which the case will be tried heard arguments on the AIRC motion to have commissioners dismissed as parties to the lawsuit and to have one of the claims in the amended complaint dismissed. That claim asks the federal court to enforce Arizona law. Based on the 11th amendment to the US Constitution, federal courts are barred from ruling on claims against state governments based on state law. I was unable to attend the conference on Wednesday, but I have thus far heard that the court is not inclined to rule on the motion to dismiss until after testimony begins in the trial next March.
Of course, federal court judges are not concerned with how much taxpayer money (in this case from the State of Arizona's General Fund) is spent on legal fees. Instead, these judges probably recognize this area of law is currently "underdeveloped," and therefore should be litigated.
This brings us to the issue of tomorrow's AIRC meeting. Much of the meeting (scheduled to start at 11am) will probably be conducted in executive session to confer with counsel about all of the pending litigation. Executive director Ray Bladine will also discuss financial issues including the likelihood of needing to request a current year supplemental appropriation when the 2013 legislative session begins (the session starts January 14) and how much to ask for in a FY2014 appropriation request.