Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Redistricting and other updates: 1st court proceeding set for January 18

As most observers of the AZ political scene are already aware, the lawsuits over redistricting have already started, even before the actual redistricting process has begun.

The first lawsuit was filed by Kirk Adams and Russell Pearce, Speaker of the Arizona House and President-elect of the Arizona Senate, respectively, over their allegations that the list of potential nominees for the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (AIRC) forwarded to them by the Arizona Commission on Appellate Court Appointments includes people who don't meet the legal qualifications for the AIRC.

Specifically, they have targeted Republicans Steve Sossaman and Mark Schnepf and Independent Paul Bender.  The Republicans, both East Valley farmers and businessmen, are elected members of irrigation district governing boards and Bender, a renowned law professor from ASU, has served on the courts of a couple of Native American tribal courts.

Adams and Pearce argue that these positions disqualify the threesome because AIRC members cannot have held "public office" for at least three years prior to their appointment to the AIRC.

Many observers think that the opposition to Sossaman and Schnepf is meant to serve as a smokescreen for their deep opposition to the possibility that Bender could end up on the commission.  While Bender is "independent" in that he isn't registered with any party, he is an outspoken progressive.

He's also considered to be brilliant, even by his detractors (who often characterize him as a "brilliant pain in the neck" - only "neck" isn't the body part they name :) ).

Because of the immediacy of the need to commence the redistricting process, when the lawsuit was filed (called a "petition for special action") it included a request for expedited consideration.

That request was granted by Justice Pelander today.

The Pearce/Adams suit has been scheduled for oral arguments on Tuesday January 18, 2011 at 2 p.m. before the Arizona Supreme Court.

At that time, the lawyers will argue why the Court should/shouldn't interfere with the process.

More updates as they become available.

Previous posts on the redistricting process here, here, here, here, and here.

...Other Pearce-related updates:

- From KTAR.com -
The main champion of Arizona laws cracking down on illegal immigration won't be in Washington on Wednesday for the unveiling of proposed legislation to deny automatic citizenship to children of illegal immigrants.

Arizona Senate spokesman Mike Philipsen says incoming Senate President Russell Pearce supports the legislation but has canceled his plans to attend the Washington news conference scheduled by legislators from Arizona and other states on their coordinated proposal.

Philipsen says Pearce is staying home to participate in state budget meetings and to prepare for the regular session starting Monday. Philipsen also cities the time required for the cross-country trip.

Two other Arizona legislators are expected to attend the Washington news conference.
The other two legislators mentioned in the article/press release are likely to be Rep. John Kavanagh and Sen. Ron Gould, Republicans both.  I've got calls out to verify that.

- Word is out from LD18 that not everyone there is satisfied with the job Pearce has been doing, and a campaign committee, utilizing traditional funding instead of Clean Elections funding, to challenge him will form within the next couple of days.  I'll publish more info when I learn more details.

No comments: