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Between the Lines: Arguments in Illinois GOP Case Begin in Court Today

“Since the first census in 1790, the law has been clear and consistent: the census must attempt to count everyone living in the U.S., including both citizens and non-citizens,” spokesman Michael Cook said. “This law has been upheld ever since, by presidential administrations of both parties, by subsequent laws and by the Supreme Court.”

The Department of Justice has 60 days to respond to the suit. There is no time limit on how long the Supreme Court can take to decide whether it will hear the case.

ARIZONA: Court Ruling on Mathis Expected Soon

The state Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments today from counsel for the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission and Colleen Mathis, the former chairwoman of the commission. Both are appealing her removal from the commission.

A ruling on whether Mathis will be reinstated could come any day. She was removed earlier this month after the commission released a redistricting draft map that enraged state and national

Gov. Jan Brewer (R) orchestrated Mathis’ removal with the consent of a supermajority in the Republican state Senate.

The state’s Commission on Appellate Court Appointments is moving ahead with the process of replacing Mathis. Its duty is to narrow a pool of 19 registered Independent applicants for the position down to three nominees. The commission will vote on the nominees Nov. 28. The remaining members of the redistricting commission, two Republicans and two Democrats, will select the new member from that pool.

The Mathis removal does not necessarily ensure a more Republican-friendly map. By law, her replacement will also be a registered Independent.

The Mathis ouster upended a process that the commission had hoped would conclude before Thanksgiving. This is only the second time an independent commission has handled the state’s redistricting, and it is the first time a member was removed. A timeline for a final map is unclear.

MINNESOTA: Parties Prepare to Submit Redraw Plans

Friday is the deadline for political parties in Minnesota to submit versions of new Congressional lines.

A five-judge panel has until February to take those maps into consideration and draw new lines. It is one of the latest deadlines to complete redistricting in the country.

The panel assumed the responsibility when the Republican-controlled state Legislature and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton were unable to come to agreement on a new map.

Currently, the Minnesota House delegation is evenly split with four Republicans and four Democrats. Both parties are closely watching how redistricting will affect three seats:  Rep. Tim Walz’s (D) 1st district, Rep. Erik Paulsen’s (R) 3rd district and Rep. Chip Cravaack’s (R) 8th district. At this point in the cycle, Walz and Paulsen appear to be on safe ground for re-election, but that could all change with the new map.

MASSACHUSETTS: New Congressional Map Clears State Legislature

The state Legislature passed a Congressional redistricting plan Wednesday that, for the most part, protects incumbents. It reduces the number of House Members for the Bay State from 10 to nine.

Rep. John Olver (D) has said he will retire at the end of the 112th Congress, leaving every Member seeking re-election with a district.

The map is expected to be signed into law by Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick soon.

Send news items on redistricting to Between the Lines here.

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