Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Redistricting -- Fed court update

On Monday, I reported about Judge Silver's order last week that each of the five members of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission tell her whether they intend to invoke (or assert) legislative privilege in the GOP challenge to the legislative district maps. Silver gave a deadline of yesterday (February 6).

All five commissioners DID respond before the deadline, but two of them hedged, unsure of whether they should clam up or not.

Those who have been following along for much of the last two years can guess which two are unsure of whether they wish to assert the privilege in THIS lawsuit.

Commissioner Rick Stertz' counsel filed a motion asking for two additional weeks to decide whether to  invoke or not invoke, saying:
As soon as counsel's employment was approved, counsel began reviewing available documents necessary to the representation of Commissioner Stertz, and particularly those relevant to the question whether it is in Commissioner Stertz's best interest to exercise the legislative privilege in response to questioning in the above-captioned case. 
Well, I wondered what it was that Stertz' counsel decided was "particularly those relevant to the question..." When I asked AIRC staff, and then counsel, what Mr. Munger and his staff had indicated was "relevant to the question," they said it was pretty much everything.

Of course, the record is all on record. So, it's anyone's guess as to what is making Stertz and Freeman so skittish about the question of legislative privilege. Being an attorney himself may or may not have played into his position, but while Freeman joined in Stertz' request for a two week extension, he did say:
Commissioner Freeman does not concede that he must definitively and irrevocably elect whether to assert any privilege before being asked any questions or being presented with any discovery request. Commissioner Freeman, therefore, to the extent permissible under the law and any order of this Court, reserves the right to waive or assert any privilege until such time that he must respond to discovery requests or questioning at a deposition or trial. In addition, Commissioner Freeman does not waive any privilege, evidentiary, or other objections he may have to any discovery requests or responses offered by any other party.
Intriguing, for sure. Today, however, Judge Silver responded to Stertz' motion by granting an extention until TOMORROW (Friday, February 8). I've got to hand it to her, she made it clear from the start that she intends to keep to the schedule of starting the trial in March.
IT IS ORDERED the Motion for Extension of Time (Doc. 113) is GRANTED IN PART. No later than February 8, 2012 Commissioners Richard Stertz and Scott D. Freeman shall advise the Court whether they will invoke the legislative privilege.
And so far, she's sticking to her guns.

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