Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Redistricting -- AIRC vacancy, now what? UPDATED 2:30 pm 5-22-13

With the potential for the Jose Herrera's resignation to either be a big deal, or not, depending on the outcome of litigation, let's explore what will take place in order for the vacancy to be filled.

Pursuant to the Arizona Constitution (cited in today's earlier post), determination will be made by the Appellate Courts Commission on Appointments as to how it will proceed. Supreme Court chief communications officer Jennifer Liewer said this afternoon that Commission staff is working this evening to put together information and expects a full explanation to be posted at azcourts.gov tomorrow.

Additional qualifications for membership on the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission include those listed in this subsection of the Constitution:
The independent redistricting commission shall consist of five members. No more than two members of the independent redistricting commission shall be members of the same political party. Of the first four members appointed, no more than two shall reside in the same county. Each member shall be a registered Arizona voter who has been continuously registered with the same political party or registered as unaffiliated with a political party for three or more years immediately preceding appointment, who is committed to applying the provisions of this section in an honest, independent and impartial fashion and to upholding public confidence in the integrity of the redistricting process. Within the three years previous to appointment, members shall not have been appointed to, elected to, or a candidate for any other public office, including precinct committeeman or committeewoman but not including school board member or officer, and shall not have served as an officer of a political party, or served as a registered paid lobbyist or as an officer of a candidate's campaign committee. (emphasis mine)
One possible course of action the Appellate Commission may take is to renominate names remaining eligible from the list of 10 Democratic nominees developed in the fall of 2010. That list included:

  • Robert L. Cannon (Maricopa County),
  • Eric B. Henderson (Navajo County),
  • Lawrence C. Mohrweis (Coconino County),
  • Mark D. Rubin (Pima County),
  • Jimmie D. Smith (Yuma County),
  • Marshall A. Worden (Pima County).
  • Marcia J. Busching (Maricopa County)
  • Jose M. Herrera (Maricopa County)
  • Linda C. McNulty (Pima County)
  • William G. Roe (Pima County)
Of the ten, only four are potentially even still qualified. Because there are already three commissioners from Pima County (McNulty, Stertz and Mathis), Rubin and Worden are not eligible.

Busching ran for a seat on the Arizona Corporation Commission as a Democrat in 2012 and is therefore no longer eligible to serve on the AIRC. Roe is currently chairman of the Arizona Democratic Party and is thus disqualified. McNulty continues to serve (and hopefully will remain on the commission through the end of her term in 2021).

Recall that in November 2011, when Mathis had been temporarily removed from the AIRC, the Appellate Courts Commission opened the process for new applicants to be considered. Because Mathis was reinstated by the Arizona Supreme Court, that process was truncated before development of a list of qualified additional nominees.

The need for quality candidates to fill the open seat remains high. When I last wrote about the Harris v AIRC case challenging the legislative district lines, I believed a ruling in favor of the plaintiffs, ordering changes to the map, was a long shot. This situation calls for more than just a vague hunch. Preparation for every possibility must be considered.

The current composition of the Appellate Courts Commission, with at least one vacancy and another three members apparently serving beyond the expiration of their terms, adds up to even more uncertainty.

Stay tuned. Obviously, there will be lots more to come.

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I suppose it's not surprising -- since I've had my head into Arizona's redistricting so much over the last two and a half years -- that my name has come up as a natural choice to take Herrera's place on the AIRC. First and foremost, I'm flattered that friends would seriously think of me in this situation. (And that others would jokingly suggest it too)

However, in 2012, I became an elected Precinct Committeeman. That fact alone disqualifies me. No doubt, however, even if I had not done so, there's no question I would still be controversial. That fact means the likelihood I would have made a short list after consideration by the Appellate Courts Commission is low anyway.

No doubt, I would have enjoyed the bantering back and forth with Mr. Freeman and Mr. Stertz. The dynamic in commission meetings would undoubtedly been different. Nevertheless, it will not play out that way.

UPDATE 5-22-13

From AZ Courts chief communications officer Jennifer Liewer:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

STATE SEEKS APPLICANTS FOR INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING COMMISSION

Applications are currently being accepted by the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments for a vacancy on the Independent Redistricting Commission, which is charged with mapping Arizona’s congressional and legislative districts. This vacancy was created by the resignation of Commission Vice Chair Jose M. Herrera.

Residents of all Arizona counties are eligible to apply. To be eligible, applicants must be registered Arizona voters who have been continuously registered with the Democratic Party for the last three years. People who have held or run for a public office (other than a school board), served as an officer of a political party or a candidate=s campaign committee, or worked as a registered paid lobbyist during the past three years are not eligible.

Application forms are available at www.azcourts.gov/jnc/IRCNominations/ApplicationInfo.aspx , by calling (602) 452-3311, or at 1501 W. Washington, Suite 221, Phoenix, AZ.

Applications must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on June 10, 2013.

Redistricting Commission members are barred from seeking or holding any public office in Arizona or for registration as a paid lobbyist during their term on the commission and for three years following.

The Commission on Appellate Court Appointments will review the applications and nominate a pool of three candidates. Representative Chad Campbell, Minority Leader in the Arizona House of Representatives, will appoint the new member of the Redistricting Commission.

5 comments:

  1. How did they end up with 3 from the same county?

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  2. The state constitution says that no more than two of the first four candidates may be appointed from any one county. This was written into the original language because drafters figured voters were already concerned about the legislature being dominated by members from Maricopa County. It was apparently all they could think of at the time to ensure geographic balance on the Commission.

    The Appellate Courts Commission was charged, in 2010, with selecting the best qualified among the limited pool of applicants. It turns out that Senate Minority Leader David Schapira selected Linda McNulty (Pima County). When it came time for Russell Pearce to make his selection, he wanted Rick Stertz, who also lives in Tucson (Pima County). Those four were required to select the fifth member, the chair. After interviews and examination of the applications of the five candidates not affiliated with a political party, they selected Colleen Coyle Mathis. Mathis lives in Pima County.

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    Replies
    1. "Those four" refers to McNulty, Stertz, Scott Freeman and Jose Herrera.

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  3. Steve, When I heard that Commissioner Herrera had resigned, the Arizona Eagletarian was the first source of information I thought of. Thanks for keeping people informed about the IRC. I'll be checking frequently now.

    Pete Bengtson

    ReplyDelete