State Capitol News
5:34 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

IRC Wants Judge to Make Redistricting Law Clear

Members of the Independent Redistricting Commission want a federal judge to rule that state lawmakers are wrong in saying only THEY get to draw lines for congressional districts. 

Time was, the Legislature divided up the state into legislative and congressional districts. That changed in 2000 when voters approved creation of the five-member commission to do the job, which it did in 2001 and again last year. But now the Republican-controlled Legislature is citing a provision in the U.S. Constitution which says the manner of selecting members of Congress -- quote -- shall be prescribed in each state by the Legislature. And they want Judge Paul Rosenblatt to give the job back to them. But in a new filing, commission attorney Joe Kanefield said the constitution Arizonans approved reserved some legislative powers for themselves. That includes not only crafting their own laws through the initiative process -- as was done here -- but establishing other legislative bodies besides the formal Legislature itself. And he said it was a constitutional amendment that created the commission.

"This really is no different than any of the other constitutional provisions such as those creating the Corporation Commission, Department of Education, that just what the folks, the people can do in Arizona," Kanefield said. "They can create these other bodies to perform what would traditionally be thought of as a legislative function so long as it keeps within the Republican form of government."