Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Redistricting -- a new AIRC brief in the Leach case

In support of its motion to have individual commissioners dismissed as defendants in Leach v AIRC, Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission counsel filed a brief a day or so ago.
The Motion seeks to dismiss the Commissioners as parties based on redundancy, lack of redressability, and legislative immunity. Plaintiffs’ Response fails to provide any valid reason why the Motion should be denied, and indeed much of the Response addresses issues that are not implicated by the Motion. [...]
The practical effect of the Motion is to streamline the litigation and avoid having to spend time and resources wading through the nuances of the role of the Commissioners if they remain as parties. Parties generally have responsibilities of responding to written discovery (interrogatories, RFAs), filing and responding to motions, and presenting evidence at trial. But here, the Commissioners were named solely in their official capacities as another way of suing the Commission. See Part I, supra. It will simplify the case to have one defendant, the Commission, who defends the map, Ariz. Const. art. IV, pt. 2, § 1(20), rather than having to deal on an ad hoc basis with the nuances of any additional responsibilities the Commissioners bear as parties.
Indeed, Plaintiffs’ counsel recently made clear that Plaintiffs intend to serve different written discovery to each Commissioner in order to exceed the presumptive discovery limits in Rules 33.1(a) and 36(b) by simply multiplying the limits for interrogatories and requests for admission by the number of Commissioners. (Exhibit 2.) However, the purpose of written discovery is to obtain the party’s position in litigation. The Commission has only one position – the legal defense of the redistricting plan on behalf of Arizona voters. Plaintiffs essentially concede that the real purpose of naming the individual Commissioners is to increase the amount of discovery they can acquire. This cannot be a legitimate reason to deny the Motion. 
Regardless of the resolution of this Motion, important legislative privilege issues remain in this case. The legislative privilege held by the Commissioners is an issue that will arise in discovery, regardless of whether the Commissioners are parties. Indeed, in a related federal lawsuit, the Commissioners were dismissed as parties, and issues of legislative privilege were addressed separately. Plaintiffs have the opportunity to get documents and testimony through discovery requests to the Commission and none of the reasons Plaintiffs cite support denying dismissal of the Commissioners as parties. For the foregoing reasons, the Commission respectfully requests that the Court grant the Motion.
The remainder of the brief can be viewed at the link embedded above. Exhibits supporting the Commission's position include a case law reference and a copy of a letter from AIRC counsel to plaintiff's counsel.

More will be available to report on this after the oral arguments hearing on Friday morning.

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