Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Federal Court smacks down Maricopa County's request to intervene in Redistricting lawsuit

On Friday, January 30, Maricopa County filed a motion to intervene in Arizona Legislature v AIRC.

From the motion to intervene,
The Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell and Maricopa County Elections Director Karen Osborne by and through undersigned counsel, move pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 24(a) for leave to intervene as a defendant in this action.
That opening statement suggests, because they want to intervene as a defendant, that they side with the AIRC and want the case to be over and done with ASAP. However, the closing statement says,
Although the County takes no position on the merits, the circumstances are such that the County has overwhelming interest in this lawsuit.
Here's what I read into this statement. Although the County doesn't want to piss off the ruling junta at the state Capitol, if the three-judge panel allows this case to drag on and don't dismiss it or rule in favor of the AIRC very quickly, we are going to be in DEEP kimchi.

Today, the three-judge panel unanimously declared Maricopa County to be a day late and a dollar short.

In the order denying the motion to intervene, Judge Rosenblatt, in detail, spanks Maricopa County for waiting 20 months after the commencement of the lawsuit to make its application. But for me, the kicker may be this:
Here, intervention was not sought until after the parties’ dispositive motions had all been fully briefed, the Court had held oral argument on those motions and had taken them under advisement, leaving the issuance of the Court’s ruling the only thing remaining to be done to resolve this action.
Of course, I'm not a legal expert, but that statement at least hints that the panel intends to rule in favor of the AIRC. Okay, maybe I'm overly optimistic on this one, but that's what it looks like to me.

Technically, this ruling does not preclude a decision in favor of the legislature. Judges are people too and I have to wonder whether Rosenblatt would have been so direct and detailed in his verbal reprimand of Maricopa County's delay in seeking to intervene if the panel is going to rule for the plaintiff, a decision that would certainly cause a firestorm of controversy.

Then again, said reprimand might serve as a distraction, making Maricopa County the scapegoat if an adverse decision is in the works, taking the heat off of the federal court.

Hopefully, we won't have to wait very long for the ruling.

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