Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Friday, August 29, 2014

Redistricting -- is this news?

On Tuesday evening, I posted the latest brief that was filed in Harris v Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. A couple of days later, Howie Fischer wrote a story about the brief. One website posted it with the headline, "Attorney: Arizona redistricting unfairly favored Democrats."

That, of course, is not really any new insight to the situation. Cantelme and Liburdi have been bitching about it, in the name of convicted felon Wes Harris for a couple of years now. Other than the fact that the "high powered attorney" from a DC law firm they got to take the lead in the SCOTUS brief is named Mark F. (Thor) Hearne II, it's not really anything that new.

Naturally, "Thor" (the ancient Norse god of thunder) would figure out what they hope is a thunderously new and exciting way to present the case to the highest court in the land. But it's not really anything but new spin on the old (established and already understood) facts and ruling of law.

The brief opens with,
Questions Presented:
1. Does the desire to gain partisan advantage for one political party justify intentionally creating over-populated legislative districts that result in tens of thousands of individual voters being denied Equal Protection because their individual votes are devalued, violating the one-person, one-vote principle?
Sounds sort of ominous, doesn't it? But there is SOOOOO much, of course, that Thor, er... Mark Hearne, left out in his effort to obscure and obfuscate the situation and the issues.

According to Fischer,
PHOENIX — Claiming illegal political motives, attorneys for Republicans are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to void the lines drawn by the Independent Redistricting Commission for the state's 30 legislative districts.
Challengers contend commission members acted improperly when they intentionally "packed'' non-Hispanic Republicans into some districts. That meant remaining districts had a higher proportion of Democrats, giving candidates from that party a better chance of getting elected.
But it's worse than that.
Thor Hearne, lead attorney for the challengers, said the commission accomplished that goal by ignoring constitutional requirements to create districts of equal population. [...]
Hanging in the balance is the political makeup of the Arizona Legislature.
A decision by the Supreme Court in the challengers' favor would force the commission to redraw the maps ahead of the 2016 election, this time with districts of more equal population -- and presumably with more districts favorable to Republicans. And it also would keep future commissions who create new lines every decade from doing the same thing.

Fischer does two things with his news story. First, he rehashes what Arizona Eagletarian readers already know and have known since the AIRC developed and sent the maps off for preclearance. Second, he sensationalizes the situation in hopes of grabbing the attention of people who don't generally follow redistricting. Now that it's election season a few more people might pay attention.

Nevertheless, this is not a new situation. The AIRC will file a response to Thor's brief within the next month (or possibly two). Thor will then get a couple of weeks to respond, then it will be up to the court to decide the matter.

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