In one of its final decisions this term, the Supreme Court on Monday upheld the legality of Arizona’s citizen redistricting commission, which is responsible for redrawing congressional and legislative district lines. The case was closely watched by legal and political experts in California, some of whom feared that if the Arizona commission was struck down, California’s could be endangered, too. … Much like Arizona, California approved a ballot measure in 2010 that shifted redistricting authority for congressional seats from the state Legislature to an independent commission. Two years earlier, voters had created the panel, the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, and given it the job of determining state legislative boundaries. If the court had ruled differently, the authority of California’s own redistricting commission would have come under question.
Paul Mitchell, a Democratic redistricting expert, said the Supreme Court’s ruling probably spared California from years of political upheaval. ”The Republicans in California are extremely lucky,” said Tony Quinn, a former Republican redistricting consultant who had foreseen trouble for Reps. David Valadao (R-Hanford) and Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) if Democratic lawmakers had been able to shift their district boundaries in a way that would jeopardize their reelection.
The decision also denies the Democratic-controlled Legislature a chance to redraw California’s congressional map to help secure incumbents who faced close elections last year, Quinn said.