Federal judges hearing a civil suit brought by Republican voters who claim the state’s new legislative maps were illegally drawn to benefit Democrats questioned lawyers Friday about whether some members of the commission that made the maps were free of political influence. That’s the heart of the case brought against the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission by 11 Republican voters, including the wife of Arizona Senate President Andy Biggs. They allege the two Democrats and one independent on the commission improperly shifted Republican voters from some districts to make them more likely to elect Democrats to the state Legislature on the premise of complying with the federal Voting Rights Act.
That left some Republican districts with more registered voters and the Hispanic-majority districts with fewer than average, effectively diluting the votes of the Republicans in violation of the one-man, one-vote principle in the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection clause. There was no overriding state interest in shifting the voters the way the panel did, according to their attorney, David Cantelme.
The three-judge panel heard five days of testimony in U.S. District Court in Phoenix, with closing arguments and questions from the judges on Friday. The court will rule later, after more court filings by lawyers for the plaintiffs and the commission.