Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Monday, November 30, 2015

Redistricting -- Just when you thought it was all settled... part one, Harris

Next Tuesday, oral arguments in Harris v Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission will be heard by the Supreme Court of the United States.

First filed in federal district court in Phoenix in 2012, a bench trial before a three-judge panel was held in March 2013. The trial court took a year to issue its ruling, which was appealed to the Supreme Court in a timely manner.

Now, after stipulated delay (both sides agreed) pending the outcome of Arizona Legislature v Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, oral arguments are a week away.

Several amicus briefs were filed earlier this month in support of the AIRC position in the case.

Today's news (or rather last week's) is that SCOTUS granted motions for Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich to take 10 of the allotted 30 minutes to argue against the AIRC on behalf of the extremely and improperly partisan Secretary of State Michele Reagan; and for the Department of Justice to take 10 of the 30 minutes allotted to the AIRC to argue in support of the current legislative district map.

Further, reply briefs were filed by Harris' counsel and Reagan's counsel. I haven't taken the time to study those briefs, but Reagan's may provide a hint as to what unique perspective she claims to have and whether it might be pursuasive.

Lastly, when reviewing documents from today's AG press conference about Bitter Smith, I noticed that one of Brnovich's assistant AGs is Beau Roysden. Roysden previously worked as an associate with Joe Kanefield at Ballard Spahr, including on AIRC litigation. Currently, I'm not familiar with whether any ethics rules would prevent Roysden from working on the Harris case against the AIRC. But it is intriguing that he does now work for the AG.

When I reviewed amicus briefs supporting the AIRC position, they looked persuasive to me. But I have an obvious bias in favor of the commission's position. While I will not be traveling to DC to sit in on the OA, I expect to review and report on the transcript when it's posted, presumably Tuesday afternoon.

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