Our Tea-Publican lawless legislature has lost in court, again. This time it was our lawless legislature’s attempt to overturn the constitutionality of the voter-approved citizens initiative creating the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (AIRC), Prop. 106 (2000), to determine redistricting election boundaries rather than the state legislature. Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (CV12-01211-PHX-PGR).
I have previously explained that, based upon case law precedents, this should be a no-brainer for the court in favor of the AIRC. Arizona Legislature v. the AIRC court hearing this Friday. And it was, except for Justice Paul Rosenblatt, who agreed with part of the ruling, but argued the citizen initiative wrongly removed any power lawmakers would have to influence how the politically sensitive lines are drawn in his dissent. Justice Rosenblatt is simply wrong. It happens.
The Court granted defendant’s Rule 12(b)(6) Motion for Failure to State a Claim, which is rare.
The Court’s Ruling (.pdf) relies upon the case precedents I previously outlined, as the Court is bound to do:
The Supreme Court, however, has at least twice rejected the notion that when it comes to congressional redistricting the Elections Clause vests only in the legislature responsibilities relating to redistricting. Both cases found that states were not prohibited from designing their own lawmaking processes and using those processes for the congressional redistricting authorized by the Clause. In subsequent cases, the Supreme Court has reaffirmed that a state can place the redistricting function in state bodies other than the legislature.
Ohio ex. rel. Davis v. Hildebrant, 241 U.S. 565, 566 (1916) and Smiley v. Holm, 285 U.S. 355 (1932).
Hildebrant and Smiley thus demonstrate that the word “Legislature” in the Elections Clause refers to the legislative process used in that state, determined by that state’s own constitution and laws. Other Courts have arrived at the same conclusion. “The Supreme Court has plainly instructed . . . that this phrase [‘the Legislature’] encompasses the entire lawmaking function of the state.” Brown v. Sec’y of State of Fla., 668 F.3d 1271, 1278-79 (11th Cir. 2012).
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In reinstating an interim congressional redistricting plan that was ordered by a state court to correct flaws in a legislative redistricting plan, the Supreme Court reaffirmed that a state may place the redistricting authority in entities other than the legislature. “We say once again what has been said on many occasions: reapportionment is primarily the duty and responsibility of the State through its legislature or other body, rather than of a federal court.” Growe v. Emison, 507 U.S. 25, 34 (1993) (quoting Chapman v. Meier, 420 U.S. 1, 27 (1975)) (emphasis added). See also Scott v. Germano, 381 U.S. 407, 409 (1965) (per curiam) (holding in a state reapportionment case that “[t]he power of the judiciary of a State to require valid reapportionment or to formulate a valid redistricting plan has not only been recognized by this Court but appropriate action by the States in such cases has been specifically encouraged.”)
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As Hildebrant and Smiley both demonstrate, however, the relevant inquiry is not whether Arizona has uniquely conferred its legislative power in representative bodies, it is whether the redistricting process it has designated results from the appropriate exercise of state law. There is no dispute that the IRC was created through the legislative power reserved in the people through the initiative with the specific purpose of conducting the redistricting within the state, and that in exercising its functions the IRC exercises the state’s legislative power. Ariz. Minority Coal., 220 Ariz. at 597, ¶ 19, 208 P.3d at 683–84. To the extent that this argument is a veiled assertion that the IRC violates the Guarantee Clause, the argument is not justiciable. Hildebrant, 241 U.S. at 569 (citing Pacific States Teleph. & Teleg. Co. v. Oregon, 223 U.S. 118 (1912)). Similarly unjusticiable is any argument that the people’s exercise of their initiative power in the re-districting setting is not a republican exercise of legislative power.
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As the Supreme Court stated in Smiley, the Elections Clause includes no “attempt to endow the Legislature of the state with power to enact laws in any manner other than that in which the Constitution of the state has provided that laws shall be enacted.” 285 U.S. at 367–68. Thus, the Elections Clause does not prohibit a state from vesting the power to conduct congressional districting elsewhere within its legislative powers. The Brown Court also adopted this analysis, explaining that the Supreme Court’s decisions in Hildebrant and Smiley “provided a clear and unambiguous answer . . . twice explaining that the term ‘Legislature’ in the Elections Clause refers not just to a state’s legislative body but more broadly to the entire lawmaking process of the state.” 668 F.3d at 1276.
In Arizona the lawmaking power plainly includes the power to enact laws through initiative, and thus the Elections Clause permits the establishment and use of the IRC.
So our Tea-Publican lawless legislature has been told by the Court that their attempt to remove from the citizens of Arizona your constitutional right to legislate by your reserved powers through initiative fails to state a claim. Your response is, “well duh.”
As you might imagine, our Tea-Publican lawless legislature refuses to accept this obvious answer. House Speaker Andy Tobin told Howard Fischer that this is not the end of the matter. But of course not. Our lawless legislature loves to piss away your tax dollars on vexatious litigation and frivolous lawsuits. Court dismisses challenge to Arizona congressional maps:
[Tobin] pointed out that Judge Paul Rosenblatt sided with him and the other Republicans, ruling that the 2000 ballot measure empowering the commission to draw those lines amounts to an “evisceration” of the sole legal right of the Legislature to make that decision.
Tobin promised to seek review by the U.S. Supreme Court which, under federal law, has to consider the plea.
“If they think it’s frivolous, then it will be over,” he said.
And this doofus is running for Congress. This has been one embarrassing week for Arizona, the “meth lab of democracy.”