Saturday, November 19, 2011

A study in contrasts: Reaction to this week's court ruling reinstating Colleen Mathis to the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission

This week's order handed down by the Arizona Supreme Court has elicited reactions from various quarters, that while not entirely unexpected, are stark in their differences.

The AIRC itself greeted the decision with professionalism, as evidenced by their promise to get back to work (press release posted by Steve at Arizona Eagletarian).

The Arizona Democratic Party greeted the decision with cautious satisfaction.

Governor Jan Brewer took a somewhat different tack (as expected), condemning the decision while ascribing to the court and its decision the contempt for the people of Arizona that she and her cronies in the legislature showed in their attempt to hijack the independent redistricting process.

Prime bits of hypocrisy -

"Let’s not forget why we’re here: The IRC followed an unconstitutional redistricting process, conducting too much of its business behind closed doors and disregarding mapping criteria seemingly at will. They did all of this without explanation."

"With its reinstatement of the IRC Chairwoman, the Supreme Court has averted its eyes from the Commission’s misdeeds. The Chairwoman’s actions to meet in secret, arrange critical votes in advance of meetings and twist the words and spirit of the Constitution have been forgiven – if not endorsed outright."
Ummm...when was the last time that the state budget was actually created in public and not cobbled together behind closed doors, and rammed through the legislature on a day's notice?  Of course, if anyone knows what it means to "twist the words and spirit of the Constitution", it's Jan and her clan.

Brewer, however, was actually understated compared to Rep. Andy Tobin, the Speaker of the Arizona House.  He called Mathis the "czar" of the AIRC, accused the the AIRC of "ignoring voter mandates", and called the AIRC's work examples of "gerrymandering."

I'd make a crack about Tobin and his caucus being experts on "ignoring voter mandates", but I used that line in the last paragraph.  So how about the definition of "gerrymander," from Merriam-Webster?
1: to divide (a territorial unit) into election districts to give one political party an electoral majority in a large number of districts while concentrating the voting strength of the opposition in as few districts as possible

2: to divide (an area) into political units to give special advantages to one group
"Competitive" districts, something that Democrats and Independent voters in Arizona want (a desire expressed and enacted in 2000, when voters created the independent redistricting process), are exactly the opposite of "gerrymandered."
Of course, as bad as Tobin was, *he* is understated compared to some of his "base", rank and file members of the Republican caucus of the lege.
Rep. Terri Proud (from after the court handed down its order) -
 Sen. Al Melvin (from a day before the court handed down its order) -
I'm not sure who is more scarily ignorant -
Proud for arguing that the constitution is unconstitutional (I think that she means that she believes the state constitution violates the US Constitution; since Arizona was already a "preclearance" state when Prop 106 passed, we'd have already heard from the DOJ if there was a problem with it) and that the "Founding Fathers" didn't intend for the people of the country to direct how their elected representatives are elected, or Melvin for openly advocating that an election to amend the AZ Constitution should be held when only Republican voters will be voting.
And given that his proposed subject matter is one which would affect all elections in Arizona, the US Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division would probably take a rather dim view of the whole affair.
In spite of her ignorance, Proud may have inadvertently told the bald truth about independent redistricting and the motivation for the power grab by Jan and her clan -
"It hasn't worked and it won't work for the Republicans.  Not ONE state has stayed Republic with an alternative.  Not ONE."
 Hope she is being prophetic...
Howard Fischer of the governor's PR staff Capitol Media Services has coverage of a possible special session of the legislature this coming week to re-fire Mathis and other redistricting-related matters here (via the East Valley Tribune). 
I'm not sure they'll be able to pull off a short-notice special session during a holiday-shortened week, but they are pulling out all the stops in their increasingly desperate efforts to override the will of the voters and seize control of the redistricting process.  At this point, anything is possible.

1 comment:

Steve Muratore said...

I love the irony of Proud Terri being prophetic and truthful!