Arizona Eagletarian

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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Redistricting -- SCOTUS to review Arizona Legislature v AIRC

This morning the Supreme Court of the United States decided it would hear Arizona Legislature v the AIRC to determine whether the Constitution provides for parliamentary sovereignty or whether the PEOPLE are sovereign.
Parliamentary sovereignty is a principle of the UK constitution. It makes Parliament the supreme legal authority in the UK, which can create or end any law. Generally, the courts cannot overrule its legislation and no Parliament can pass laws that future Parliaments cannot change. Parliamentary sovereignty is the most important part of the UK constitution. 
This situation is high-profile enough to get corporate media to write about it. That doesn't mean you can take all of their words at face value, but you'll still get more from them than usual.

Arizona's Politics blog, a NON-corporate media outlet, posted about it this morning. That report quoted UC-Irvine law professor Rick Hasan,

But today’s Supreme Court grants to hear two new election cases fit into the category of petitions to move the law in more conservative directions. In the Arizona State Legislature case, the Court has the potential to prevent the increasing use of citizen commissions to decide congressional redistricting, taking the issue out of the hands of self-interested legislatures. Here is how the Court phrased the issue in the Arizona redistricting case:...
The key question is whether the state “Legislature’s” power under the elections clause to set the manner for congressional elections includes the power for state voters to set those rules by initiative. It seems to me the matter is pretty settled that the answer is yes (for reasons given in my Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly article: When ‘Legislature’ May Mean More than ‘Legislature’: Initiated Electoral College Reform and the Ghost of Bush v. Gore). But maybe the issue is to be reopened?

Links to Associated Press coverage and to local Republican journalist Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services (which is just another name for Fischer, who is a one man shop) provide a basic overview of the case where it stands today. However, one reason not to take corporate media at face value is this Wall Street Journal write up with the headline, "Supreme Court Adds Discrimination Cases to Its Docket." This redistricting case is NOT about discrimination against any voter group, unlike Harris which claims Republican (non-minority) voters were discriminated against.

For now, here's some of what the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission has said about today's news.
Today the United States Supreme Court accepted review of the Arizona State Legislature’s appeal challenging the Arizona’s Independent Redistricting Commission’s authority over congressional redistricting. The Court will decide whether the Elections Clause of the U.S. Constitution and 2 U.S.C. §2a(c) permit the use of citizen commissions to adopt congressional districts. The Court also asked for briefing on whether the Arizona Legislature has standing to bring its suit.
Commission attorneys Mary O’Grady and Joseph Kanefield responded to the Court’s action by issuing this statement:
“We hope that the Supreme Court will preserve the right of states, recognized by Congress, to establish citizen commissions that are responsible for congressional redistricting. If the Arizona Legislature prevails, only state legislatures would be permitted to draw congressional districts, effectively ending independent congressional redistricting that has been an important reform in Arizona and elsewhere.”
As I've noted in several blog posts before, the distinction is whether or not voters will get to choose their own representatives or state lawmakers will have the authority to choose which voters a Congressional representative will have.

The AIRC is likely now planning to have the five-member commission meet officially to discuss and decide issues related to today's Supreme Court decision. Oral arguments have not been scheduled but some speculate they could be scheduled for mid-winter, three to five months from now.

While it may be exciting for all sides to have this case heard before the Supremes, it still represents an arrogant waste of taxpayer dollars. The legislature did this simply because they have all the money in the general fund and they get to decide how to spend it. Think Scrooge McDuck.

When it comes to matters of their own vanity, the legislature has unlimited resources.

When it comes to funding Arizona infrastructure maintenance and repair, school funding or social safety net programs (Medicaid restoration), they whine that they don't have enough money.

Well, Scrooge McDucey, you can't kickstart the Arizona economy by imposing austerity on the state and its people.

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