Just one day after it said the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission was legal, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said it will hear a challenge to the commission’s Statehouse district plans. The court agreed to hear a case brought by more than a dozen Arizona voters who accused the commission in 2012 of improperly drawing legislative district boundaries to favor Democrats. Specifically, the suit claims the commission “underpopulated” liberal-leaning districts while packing voters into GOP-leaning districts. That diluted votes in the “overpopulated” Republican districts, violating the one-person, one-vote rule, the lawsuit said. A lower court disagreed, but the Supreme Court said Tuesday it will review that decision after it reconvenes this fall.
An attorney representing the plaintiffs in the case, Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, declined to comment on the high court’s decision Tuesday. Officials at the redistricting commission did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
But one voting-rights advocate said the commission did “exactly what it was charged to do.”
“The U.S. Department of Justice approved the congressional and legislative districts without any required adjustments,” said Sam Wercinski, referring to the final district plans drawn up by the commission.
That is “the first time that occurred since the Voting Rights Act and preclearance was established,” said Wercinski, executive director for the Arizona Advocacy Network.