The death Saturday of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia could undermine efforts by Arizona Republicans to undo the state’s 30 legislative districts. Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who asked the high court in December to void the current lines, said much of his pitch was based on the constitutional one-person, one-vote requirement. Brnovich said that was squarely aimed at Scalia, who defined himself as an “originalist,” believing the language of the Constitution means exactly what it says. What makes Scalia’s death significant for that case is the possibility the court would have ruled 5-4 that the Independent Redistricting Commission acted illegally in creating districts with unequal populations. Without Scalia — assuming he would have sided with the challengers — that would result in a 4-4 tie, leaving intact the lower court ruling, which concluded the commission did not act illegally.
And that, in turn, means the current lines remain through at least the 2020 election, lines that Republicans who challenged them contend give unfair advantage to Democrats.
The fight surrounds the population differences among the 30 districts.
Challengers contend the commission intentionally “packed” non-Hispanic Republicans into some districts so the remaining districts had a higher proportion of Democrats. That would give candidates from that party a better chance of getting elected.
Full Article: Scalia’s death may hurt GOP’s Arizona redistricting suit.