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Author Topic: US House Redistricting: Arizona  (Read 25868 times)
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« Reply #400 on: October 30, 2011, 05:02:21 am »
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Are redistricting commission appointments always this litigious, or is this year just bad for Arizona's Commission?
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« Reply #401 on: October 30, 2011, 09:21:51 am »

Are redistricting commission appointments always this litigious, or is this year just bad for Arizona's Commission?

I think we are seeing an inherent weakness in the independent commission model. Few people are completely independent, since individuals do have opinions that reflect on political choices. A system that is seeking independent members has a challenge to see past simple measures such as party registration.
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« Reply #402 on: November 01, 2011, 08:15:08 pm »
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http://www.rollcall.com/news/arizona_governor_jan_brewer_starts_impeachment_against_redistricting_panel-209840-1.html

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has taken the first step today in what had been previously called “the nuclear option” in seeking a more Republican-friendly redistricting map.

The GOP governor began the impeachment process for removing members from the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission by submitting a letter outlining her grievances to commission Chairwoman Colleen Mathis.


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« Reply #403 on: November 02, 2011, 12:50:33 am »
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Are redistricting commission appointments always this litigious, or is this year just bad for Arizona's Commission?

I think we are seeing an inherent weakness in the independent commission model. Few people are completely independent, since individuals do have opinions that reflect on political choices. A system that is seeking independent members has a challenge to see past simple measures such as party registration.

I thought the facts are in this case were that they asked all applicants if their spouse worked for a political party, and she lied! The Commission simply didn't presume all "independents" were suitable candidates. In this case, the system would have excluded her properly because her husband worked on Democratic campaigns.
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« Reply #404 on: November 02, 2011, 03:41:55 am »
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Are redistricting commission appointments always this litigious, or is this year just bad for Arizona's Commission?

The system worked reasonably well in the past.

This year the Democrats successfully foisted one of their own on the commission as an ostensible "independent."

They tried to keep "Christians" off the commission and tried to appoint legally ineligible persons to the commission (the Arizona Supreme Court ruled against them).

Mathis engaged in a number of illegal actions including, but not limited to, secret meetings, destroying records and hiding critical documents.

The Congressional map is acknowledged to violate the 'compactness' standard established both by the Supreme Court of the United States and the law stipulating the criteria that the Commission "shall" use in establishing districts.

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« Reply #405 on: November 02, 2011, 10:23:36 am »
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How do we know Mathis was a rouge agent whom wormed her way through the process? Another possibility is that the fix was on. If so, her impeachment is merely a matter of changing names. The same commission that nominated her, will submit four new names. The four remaining members of the IRC will have to pick one of the four, or the commission will pick which of the four. If the fix is in, the new "independent" nominee will be another Mathis lite. You might just see the new commissioner piously announce that it too late in the process to start from scratch, and that the proposed map, which is functionally a Democratic gerrymander, is "fair," ad nasceum.
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« Reply #406 on: November 02, 2011, 10:40:36 am »
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Mathis was chosen unanimously by the other four commissioners, from a shortlist of five suitable independents picked by a different commission (that has other, earlier tasks.) I've no idea what would happen if a member resigned or was removed; the case is not covered in this legal overview.
I do not know if Mathis was asked about her husband's political links, or whether she lied about them. I do know that they are not, in and of itself, disqualifying her from serving as the commission's independent member.
As to the last question... it is too late to start from scratch (and be on the safe side re federal laws etc). That's beyond doubt. It's barely not yet too late to do a major redraw sort-of based on the current map though, for, like, another week.
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« Reply #407 on: November 02, 2011, 10:45:55 am »
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Ah, here it is.
"THE COMMISSION ON APPELLATE COURT APPOINTMENTS OR ITS DESIGNEE [so, the same people who made the shortlist] SHALL NOMINATE A POOL OF THREE CANDIDATES WITHIN THE FIRST THIRTY DAYS AFTER THE VACANCY OCCURS. THE NOMINEES SHALL BE OF THE SAME POLITICAL PARTY OR STATUS AS WAS THE MEMBER WHO VACATED THE OFFICE AT THE TIME OF HIS OR HER APPOINTMENT, AND THE APPOINTMENT OTHER THAN THE CHAIR SHALL BE MADE BY THE CURRENT HOLDER OF THE OFFICE DESIGNATED TO MAKE THE ORIGINAL APPOINTMENT. THE APPOINTMENT OF A NEW CHAIR SHALL BE MADE BY THE REMAINING COMMISSIONERS. IF THE APPOINTMENT OF A REPLACEMENT COMMISSIONER OR CHAIR IS NOT MADE WITHIN FOURTEEN DAYS FOLLOWING THE PRESENTATION OF THE NOMINEES, THE COMMISSION ON APPELLATE COURT APPOINTMENTS OR ITS DESIGNEE SHALL MAKE THE APPOINTMENT, STRIVING FOR POLITICAL BALANCE AND FAIRNESS."

Also, if Mathis is removed before the commission draws a final map or finalizes the current one (they have hearings scheduled up to november 5th) strictly they only have an earliest date to do so, not a latest (except what's set by filing deadlines etc pp), so they would presumably have to wait in doing that until the replacement is chosen.
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« Reply #408 on: November 02, 2011, 11:46:24 am »
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I wonder if there is any prospect of cutting a deal with a less partisan map in exchange for not bouncing Mathis. That would be by far the simplest course.
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« Reply #409 on: November 02, 2011, 11:48:13 am »
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Wow, the Republicans sure do hate the rule of law. Cheating the system implemented by the people so they can gerrymander away the people's right to democratic representation. Shameful.
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« Reply #410 on: November 02, 2011, 11:53:24 am »
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Wow, the Republicans sure do hate the rule of law. Cheating the system implemented by the people so they can gerrymander away the people's right to democratic representation. Shameful.
Well, if Mathis stated that her husband doesn't have political links either, and the appelate whatever commission wouldn't have shortlisted if she told the truth, then Republicans do have something of a case.
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« Reply #411 on: November 02, 2011, 12:05:20 pm »
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Mathis was chosen unanimously by the other four commissioners, from a shortlist of five suitable independents picked by a different commission (that has other, earlier tasks.) I've no idea what would happen if a member resigned or was removed; the case is not covered in this legal overview.
I do not know if Mathis was asked about her husband's political links, or whether she lied about them.

There is this thing called "research." The fact that you haven't bothered may very well be motivated by a desire to not want to know what is a very unpleasant fact for you.

Quote
I do know that they are not, in and of itself, disqualifying her from serving as the commission's independent member.

Yes, they are.

Quote
As to the last question... it is too late to start from scratch (and be on the safe side re federal laws etc). That's beyond doubt. It's barely not yet too late to do a major redraw sort-of based on the current map though, for, like, another week.


Since states like Florida and New York have hardly even began the process, it, obviously, isn't too late to start from scratch.
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« Reply #412 on: November 02, 2011, 12:19:12 pm »
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Mathis was chosen unanimously by the other four commissioners, from a shortlist of five suitable independents picked by a different commission (that has other, earlier tasks.) I've no idea what would happen if a member resigned or was removed; the case is not covered in this legal overview.
I do not know if Mathis was asked about her husband's political links, or whether she lied about them.

There is this thing called "research." The fact that you haven't bothered may very well be motivated by a desire to not want to know what is a very unpleasant fact for you.
Not really. More a case of not wanting to wade into this stuff deeply unless absolutely forced to, and the fact that anything smacking of Arizona Tea Party fails the LAPD test.

I have done a bit of that wading now, I'm still not ready to do as much as it probably requires, and yeah she apparently has "omitted" info on a questionnaire applicants needed to fill out, about her husband's lawyer work for political officeholders... of both parties, btw. (The man actually was a Republican congressional aide once, more than a decade ago)

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I do know that they are not, in and of itself, disqualifying her from serving as the commission's independent member.

Yes, they are.
[/quote]Not under the laws of Arizona. The requirements are pretty clear: have been a registered independent for the past x years, not personally stood for office or worked professionally for a campaign the past y years, not a registered lobbyist.

Whether she would or should have been shortlisted may be quite another matter, though. They are supposed to pick the most qualified five from the applicants after all, and the Arizona Supreme Court made its case law in that earlier decision where it forced alterations of the shortlist.
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« Reply #413 on: November 02, 2011, 12:20:59 pm »
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Oh yeah, that Republican who abstained on that map? He's totally siding with Mathis. Shocked
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« Reply #414 on: November 02, 2011, 12:47:48 pm »
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The AZ state Senate voted last night to bounce Mathis. Mathis is petitioning the AZ Supreme Court today to object to her removal. Just what her grounds are I have no clue.

The Dems are filing paperwork to recall 4 Pubbie state Senators that I guess they think are vulnerable. Just how that will do them any good vis a vis redistricting also escapes me.
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« Reply #415 on: November 02, 2011, 12:57:21 pm »
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The AZ state Senate voted last night to bounce Mathis. Mathis is going to the AZ Supreme Court to object to her removal.
Yep.

So if the Court says it's fine, the Senate can impeach and remove (rolled into one) on any grounds they want without holding any semblance of an impeachment trial, it's their legislative prerogative to interprete the facts that way, then yeah, we'll not get a final map until after Mathis' successor is chosen.
Republicans shouldn't, of course, hold their breath on the outcome. I certainly don't see any sort of path towards a rebooted process, complete with new grid, new first round of hearings etc pp.
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« Reply #416 on: November 02, 2011, 12:58:21 pm »
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Mathis was chosen unanimously by the other four commissioners, from a shortlist of five suitable independents picked by a different commission (that has other, earlier tasks.) I've no idea what would happen if a member resigned or was removed; the case is not covered in this legal overview.
I do not know if Mathis was asked about her husband's political links, or whether she lied about them.

There is this thing called "research." The fact that you haven't bothered may very well be motivated by a desire to not want to know what is a very unpleasant fact for you.
Not really. More a case of not wanting to wade into this stuff deeply unless absolutely forced to, and the fact that anything smacking of Arizona Tea Party fails the LAPD test.

I have done a bit of that wading now, I'm still not ready to do as much as it probably requires, and yeah she apparently has "omitted" info on a questionnaire applicants needed to fill out, about her husband's lawyer work for political officeholders... of both parties, btw. (The man actually was a Republican congressional aide once, more than a decade ago)

Quote
Quote
I do know that they are not, in and of itself, disqualifying her from serving as the commission's independent member.

Yes, they are.
Not under the laws of Arizona. The requirements are pretty clear: have been a registered independent for the past x years, not personally stood for office or worked professionally for a campaign the past y years, not a registered lobbyist.

Whether she would or should have been shortlisted may be quite another matter, though. They are supposed to pick the most qualified five from the applicants after all, and the Arizona Supreme Court made its case law in that earlier decision where it forced alterations of the shortlist.


Here is the relevent passage from the Arizona Constitution:

Quote from: Arizona Constitution


Each member shall be a registered Arizona voter who has been continuously registered with the same political party or registered as unaffiliated with a political party for three or more years immediately preceding appointment, who is committed to applying the provisions of this section in an honest, independent and impartial fashion and to upholding public confidence in the integrity of the redistricting process.

Having a spouse active in a political party does undermine public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the redistricting process. The question was on the application for a reason, and she lied for a reason. Lying on your application is simply not consistent with "upholding public confidence in the integrity of the redistricting process." A person committed to upholding public confidence in the process would have freely volunteered any possible conflicts or any appearances of conflicts. Nor, is holding remapping sessions with the Democratic members in secret, or destroying documents necessary for oversight consistent with maintaining the appearance of an impartial process. Presumably, all five commissioner should have an equal input on the final map, so all five ought to be present at all mapping sessions. Forbidding the Republican members from hiring their own lawyers didn't pass the smell test, either. She was removed with cause.

Hopefully, she'll be prosecuted for falsifying her application, violating open meeting laws, and obstructing justice.
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« Reply #417 on: November 02, 2011, 01:02:00 pm »
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The AZ state Senate voted last night to bounce Mathis. Mathis is going to the AZ Supreme Court to object to her removal.
Yep.

So if the Court says it's fine, the Senate can impeach and remove (rolled into one) on any grounds they want without holding any semblance of an impeachment trial, it's their legislative prerogative to interprete the facts that way, then yeah, we'll not get a final map until after Mathis' successor is chosen.
Republicans shouldn't, of course, hold their breath on the outcome. I certainly don't see any sort of path towards a rebooted process, complete with new grid, new first round of hearings etc pp.

Isn't the obstacle that the Dems won't agree to a replacement? I assume that otherwise the map could just be revised based on the votes of the replacement.  If that is the case, then either the parties will agree to a compromise map, or the court will draw a map. In the meantime, the existing map is dead. I doubt a court would draw something as offensive to the Pubbies as the Mathis map.
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« Reply #418 on: November 02, 2011, 01:53:03 pm »
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The existing map doesn't officially exist yet. Once the parties don't agree to a replacement, the people who drew the shortlist pick one.
And unless they changed its composition in the interim... Republicans don't like the people who draw the shortlist either.
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« Reply #419 on: November 02, 2011, 02:28:45 pm »
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The existing map doesn't officially exist yet. Once the parties don't agree to a replacement, the people who drew the shortlist pick one.
And unless they changed its composition in the interim... Republicans don't like the people who draw the shortlist either.

Who picks the commission on appellate appointments?  I guess a new shortlist is drawn up with Mathis gone if it holds. Did the Pubbies hate everyone that was on the previous shortlist, so that Mathis was the least bad of the lot (at least based on what she condescended to disclose rather than hide)?
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« Reply #420 on: November 02, 2011, 02:39:20 pm »
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The existing map doesn't officially exist yet. Once the parties don't agree to a replacement, the people who drew the shortlist pick one.
And unless they changed its composition in the interim... Republicans don't like the people who draw the shortlist either.

Who picks the commission on appellate appointments?  I guess a new shortlist is drawn up with Mathis gone if it holds.
Yes. Just read the allcaps post above, that's the relevant clause in the law.
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Did the Pubbies hate everyone that was on the previous shortlist, so that Mathis was the least bad of the lot (at least based on what she condescended to disclose rather than hide)?
Nah, they had an overriding objective to keep a particular individual out, and appeared to be ready to accept anybody else. So Dems probably got their second pick.

But Republicans (successfully, though on what seemed mighty feeble grounds - an indication of the state Supreme Court's leanings, I presume?) sued to have the shortlist changed (and then put someone they successfully got onto the shortlist that way onto the Commission.)
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« Reply #421 on: November 02, 2011, 02:41:14 pm »
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"For more than 30 years Arizona citizens have benefited from a judicial merit selection and retention system. Merit selection is a way of choosing judges that uses nonpartisan commissions to investigate and evaluate applicants for judgeships. The commissions then submit the names of at least three highly qualified applicants to the Governor. The Governor appoints appellate court judges statewide and trial court judges in Maricopa and Pima counties from lists of nominees submitted by the judicial nominating commissions.

We invite you to attend our meetings to see Arizona’s merit selection system at work. Our mission is to nominate candidates with outstanding qualifications who reflect, to the extent possible, the diversity of our communities.

Public members make up the majority of every judicial nominating commission. There are three nominating commissions - one for appellate court appointments, and two local commissions on trial court appointments in Maricopa and Pima counties. Each commission is composed of ten public members and five attorney members, and is chaired by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Our members come from diverse geographic areas. A wide range of experience and perspectives are brought together to choose the most highly qualified candidates for appointment to judicial office.

Merit selection is not a system that grants lifetime judgeships. In Arizona, after an initial two-year term of office and every few years thereafter, judges appointed under merit selection are evaluated by the voters in an uncontested retention election. Voters have the power to remove or retain judges during the retention elections.

How can Arizona citizens participate in selecting, reviewing and voting on judges?

• Encourage highly qualified people to apply to serve as a judge.

• Volunteer to serve on a judicial nominating commission. Applications are available from the Governor's Office when volunteers are needed. [...]"

Also:
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« Reply #422 on: November 02, 2011, 03:06:35 pm »
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But Republicans (successfully, though on what seemed mighty feeble grounds - an indication of the state Supreme Court's leanings, I presume?) sued to have the shortlist changed (and then put someone they successfully got onto the shortlist that way onto the Commission.)

Which Commission?  It must be the redistricting commission, since you referred to someone on the shortlist being put on the "Commission." If the redistricting commission, I presume it was not Mathis that the Pubbies got on. But the shortlist is just for the 5th vote no?  I am just so confused. Smiley 
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« Reply #423 on: November 02, 2011, 03:10:32 pm »
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And what if the next chair doesn't obey the Republicans demands? Are they going to repeat the process over and over again until they find someone that will? This isn't going to stop, because the commission isn't going to draw the map they want, no matter who the chair is.
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« Reply #424 on: November 02, 2011, 09:40:44 pm »

And what if the next chair doesn't obey the Republicans demands? Are they going to repeat the process over and over again until they find someone that will? This isn't going to stop, because the commission isn't going to draw the map they want, no matter who the chair is.

The problem for the GOP is that the commission is directed to create competitive districts. But the mix of 2008 and 2010 elections isn't particularly representative, and will tend to create slight Dem leans instead of even districts. Only if the commission is willing to adopt a better mix of elections will the GOP find them making better maps.
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