AIRC Update: District Court rejects Tea-Publican challenge to legislative district maps


gavelHarris, et al. v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (CV-12-0894-PHX-ROS-NVW-RRC) was heard at trial in March 2013, with supplemental briefings requested by the Court in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder effectively gutting Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The wheels of justice turn slowly, but today a three judge panel of the U. S. District Court of Arizona rejected the challenge by Tea-Publicans to the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (AIRC) legislative maps. I don’t presently have a copy of the ruling. The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports Court rejects challenge to IRC’s legislative map:

A federal three-judge panel ruled that the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission does not have to redraw any portion of its legislative district map, rejecting the claims from Republican challengers who that alleged the map violated the one-person-one-vote principle.

The IRC said it was simply trying to create districts that would comply with the Voting Rights Act. At the time, Arizona was subject to the Section 5 of the act, which required the U.S. Department of Justice to approve the state’s legislative districts.

The judges sided with the commission, saying the population deviations were based on Voting Rights Act compliance, not partisanship.

“We have concluded that compliance with the Voting Rights Act is a legitimate state policy that can justify minor population deviations, that the deviations in the map in large part resulted from this goal, and that plaintiffs have failed to show that other, illegitimate motivations predominated over the preclearance motivation,” the court’s order read.

I anticipate that Steve Muratore will have much more to post about this case, and Arizona petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court for an appeal in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (CV12-01211-PHX-PGR), the Tea-Publican challenge to overturn the citizens initiative that created the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.  A three judge panel of the U. S. District Court of Arizona rejected the challenge by Tea-Publicans to the AIRC in February. GOP lawmakers’ challenge to redistricting commission’s existence tossed.

The anti-democratic Tea-Publican tyranny keeps losing in court, and pissing away your tax dollars to overturn the will of the voters. Remember in November!

(Clarification: The challenge to the citizens initiative by the legislature is on the taxpayer’s dime. The other two cases are funded by GOP “dark money” organizations).

UPDATE: Read the Order in Harris v. AIRC Here (.pdf).


  1. I have linked the three documents issued by the US District Court in the blog post I just put up on this matter. also posted

    There is a 55-page Order with the overall ruling, then also Judge Silver wrote a concurring opinion and Judge Wake wrote a dissent.

    Former Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Dave Cole (currently a Law Professor at the Phoenix School of Law) said this reflecting on why it took 13 months to get a decision:
    “Several reasons occur to me. First, the Court was dealing with issues that are complicated, both factually and legally. Second, to characterize the case as “contentious” would be a huge understatement. Third, as you point out, there was a lot of “mixing and matching” of the panel members relative to the various issues, which has a tendency to complicate the give and take and “negotiating ” that typically occur in such situations. Fourth, the Court knew that this case was being watched closely, and clearly not just by Arizonans. It was a foregone conclusion that at least one “side” would seek SCOTUS review regardless of the outcome. Last, remember that the District Court has been severely handicapped for quite some time because, in spite of burgeoning caseloads, vacancies went unfilled. Just my $.02.”

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