U.S. Supreme Court justices Tuesday weighed a challenge to Arizona’s legislative districts, which claims the maps systematically deprived Republican, non-minority voters of one person, one vote protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. The case, Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, is based on the fact that almost all of Arizona’s Republican-leaning districts are overpopulated, and almost all of the state’s Democratic-leaning districts are underpopulated. A group of 10 Republican voters brought the challenge, claiming these disparities show an intentional attempt to boost Democrats in the state legislature.
Attorneys representing the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission argued that although Republican legislative districts were overpopulated, doing so was necessary to get U.S. Department of Justice approval. A lower court ruled in favor of the commission in 2013, saying that the desire for Justice Department approval was a legitimate reason for the population disparities.
The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission redrew the maps in 2011, as part of political reapportionment that typically occurs every 10 years. The commission is comprised of two Democrats, two Republicans and one party-unaffiliated chairperson.