Pamela Powers, a progressive voice for Arizona
The voters of Arizona approved the creation on an independent redistricting commission to draw legislative and Congressional district boundaries in 2000. The citizen battle against gerrymandering was tied up in the courts for 10 years. Finally after the 2010 census, Arizona’s first Independent Redistricting Commission drew maps– instead of having the ruling party in the Arizona Legislature draw maps.
In the process of drawing the new maps, two Democrats, two Republicans, and one Independent worked long hours, held months of public meetings, and listened to hundreds of citizens. They came up with maps that perserved some safe districts for each party, plus some districts where the D/R registration was more or less even. Fairness for the people!
Unfortunately, the forces of gerrymandering and money didn’t like fairness for the people. The Arizona Legislature sued the Independent Redistricting Commission because they said the Constitution put the Legislatue in charge of redistricting.
In a stunning 5-4 Supreme Court defeat, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg said that the people of Arizona had spoken. “Arizona voters sought to restore the core principle that the voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around,” wrote Ginsberg.
Now Arizona voters have learned that this judicial fiasco cost the taxpayers $1.5 million. WE paid for both sides of the court case! This court case was a political fight waged by the Arizona Republican Party, in a last ditch attempt to keep gerrymandering and thwart the rising new electorate, which includes far more Latinos and young voters– people who don’t support Republican candidates.
Read about the cost of the lawsuit here at AZCentral.
Unfortunately, the #AZGOP has a second redistricting lawsuit on it’s way to the Supreme Court. The 2015 case only dealt with Congressional districts. The new case covers Legislaive districts. I think Republican Legislators should foot the bill for these judicial shinnagans.