Now that Gov. Jan Brewer, The Wicked Witch of the West has lost her magic and will soon melt away into nothingness, whatever will Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services do?
Fischer has been Brewer’s “unofficial” Public Relations agent, even shamelessly hawking her crappy book Scorpions for Breakfast in multiple “news” reports (most copies of which have gone to pulp by now). My suggestion is that Fischer retire and leave when Brewer goes.
Howard returned to one of his favorite topics to spin for the GOP this week: redistricting.
The lawyers/lobbyists of the GOP secretive redistricting organization FAIR Trust, along with their hired gun before the U.S. Supreme Court, filed on behalf of our Tea-Publican controlled Arizona Legislature their Statement as to Jurisdiction on August 25. (A responsive brief is due September 29).
This is not particularly newsworthy, but Fischer saw this as another opportunity to spin the GOP talking points on redistricting. Republicans ask Supreme Court to scrap legislative districts.
You will note that Fischer only quotes the GOP lawyers involved in this case and dispenses with the FAUX News “fair and balanced” requirement of presenting an opposing Democratic viewpoint on the lawsuit. Worse, he does not present any constitutional legal expert on the subject (something he has done in the past) to provide some context as to whether this GOP press release disguised as a news report has any legitimacy (it does not).
This is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that Howard Fischer has done this. I took him to task when this case went to trial in Redistricting trial in U.S. District Court this week:
Based upon the biased reporting of Howard Fischer today in the Arizona Daily Star, Arizona redistricting challenge heads to US court today, it appears that lawyer/lobbyist David Cantelme from FAIR Trust is pinning his hopes on the claim that population deviation between the districts is a violation of law. He apparently believes that state legislative district populations must be strictly equal.
Challengers are pinning their hopes on the fact that 30 districts
crafted by the Independent Redistricting Commission are not all equal in population.
Attorney David Cantelme contends the differences were
done “deliberately, intentionally and in violation of the
The goal of the commission, he charges, was to cluster as many
Republicans as possible together in districts, leaving the other,
underpopulated districts with more Democrats than otherwise would occur, giving Democrats an unfair and illegal advantage in electing their own candidates to the Legislature.
Cantelme’s argument that state legislative district populations must be strictlly equal is not supported at law. The U.S. Supreme Court has permitted population deviations to accommodate other legitimate concerns. The U.S. Supreme Court just last year (Tennant v. Jefferson Co. Commission et.al. 567 U.S. ___ 2012) upheld a West Virginia congressional map that differed in population between districts by as much as 4,871 people. Lyle Denniston wrote at SCOTUSblog.com, Opinion recap: Hedging on “one person, one vote”:
“Zero variance” in population is not the new constitutional norm for redistricting, the Court made clear. Just because computers can produce almost exactly equal-sized districts, the Constitution does not require it, the decision said.
After sitting on the case from West Virginia all summer long, the
Court produced an eight-page, unsigned ruling that largely deferred to
the wishes of that state’s legislature on how to craft the three
districts for choosing its House delegation. The opinion can be found here. The new ruling came in the case of Tennant v. Jefferson County Commission (docket 11-1184).
“The equal population standard for congressional districts is notably
stricter than for legislative or other types of political districts. In
contrast, state and local redistricting followed a “substantially equal” standard, which translated to a rough rule/guideline allowing most maps a 10% deviation. While not a clear cut rule, it has become an operational standard in the redistricting community.” U.S. Supreme Court Elaborates on Equal Population Requirement.
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Howard Fischer’s biased reporting suggests that there is a dispute as to which party bears the burden of proof, but this is posturing by David Cantelme from the GOP’s FAIR Trust. As Jospeph Kanefiled said, “any difference of less than 10 percent among the districts is ‘presumptively constitutional’ unless challengers can prove there is an illegal or irrational basis for the differences.” That’s how legal presumptions work, Howie.
Here we are a year and a half later, and Fischer is still not providing proper legal context for this case. He simply reports the GOP talking points and spins for the GOP.
Just retire, Howie. You and Jan Brewer should ride off into the Arizona sunset together.