Arizona voters have a constitutional right to wrest control of drawing congressional boundaries from the Legislature, a federal court ruled late Friday. U.S. District Judge Murray Snow acknowledged the arguments by Peter Gentala, an attorney for the Republican-controlled Legislature, that the U.S. Constitution spells out that the “times, places and manner” of electing members of Congress “shall be prescribed in each state by the Legislature thereof.” But Snow, writing for the majority of the three-judge panel, said he reads nothing in the Constitution that precludes the voters, as the ultimate lawmakers, from deciding that legislative chore and instead giving it to the Independent Redistricting Commission, which is what they did in 2000. That makes the lines the commission drew for the state’s nine congressional districts legal and enforceable, he said.
House Speaker Andy Tobin said this is not the end of the matter. He 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.
Full Article: Court dismisses challenge to Arizona congressional maps.