Colorado: Supreme Court Rejects GOP Redistricting Case

Posted March 5, 2007 at 6:40pm

The Supreme Court on Monday unanimously rejected attempts by Centennial State Republicans to throw out a court-drawn Congressional redistricting map in favor of one drawn by the Legislature when state government was controlled by Republicans.

The justices ruled that Republicans were not permitted to sue to have a map that a Democratic state judge drew in 2002 replaced with one agreed upon by the Republican Legislature a year later. When state legislators failed to agree on Congressional district boundaries in time for the 2002 elections, the state judge stepped in.

In attempting to redraw the map in 2003, Republicans and then-Gov. Bill Owens (R) argued that they were justified in doing so because the court, rather than the Legislature, had drawn the lines, robbing the Legislature of its once-a-decade responsibility to set Congressional boundaries. The Republican map was far more favorable to the GOP than the court-ordered map was.

But the Colorado Supreme Court threw out the new GOP map and restored the court-drawn lines, arguing that legislators had forfeited their opportunity to create a map when they could not agree on the lines in 2002. Democrats have picked up House seats in Colorado in the previous two election cycles.

A U.S. District Court last year ruled that the Republicans’ case could proceed through federal courts on the grounds that a violation of the state’s election clause might have occurred. But the high court on Monday sided with the state Supreme Court.

“This injury is precisely the kind of undifferentiated, generalized grievance about the conduct of government that we have refused to countenance in the past,” the high court wrote, according to an Associated Press report.
— David M. Drucker

MINNESOTA
Lawyer Says He Wants to Challenge Bachmann

A local lawyer who won an FBI whistle-blower a $565,000 judgment against the agency is ready to try his hand at politics.

Robert Hill of Stillwater said he has met with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and is ready to challenge freshman Rep. Michele Bachmann (R).

“If you don’t get out early, you won’t be considered viable,” Hill told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Hill represented Jane Turner, a former FBI agent, in the sexual discrimination case she filed after she claimed she was fired for revealing the bureau’s pattern of sexual discrimination.

Bachmann has taken a lot of heat recently for comments she made about Iraq, but the 6th district favors the GOP.

This morning Bachmann is hosting a meet and greet on Capitol Hill with members of the health care industry. While campaign donations will be accepted, the Capitol Hill Club event is not considered a fundraiser and there is no fee required to attend.

Bachmann ended 2006 with $73,000 in her campaign account.
— Nicole Duran

NEVADA
Report: Reid’s Son Eyes Race Against Rep. Porter

Rep. Jon Porter’s (R) suburban Las Vegas seat has piqued the interests of at least four prominent local Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D) son.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Monday that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee already has begun approaching potential 2008 challengers to Porter, who just avoided an upset by Tessa Hafen (D) in November.

Those on the DCCC’s short list: Hafen, a former top aide to Reid; Rory Reid, the Clark County commission chairman who also heads Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) Nevada operations; Richard Perkins, the Henderson police chief and former state Assembly Speaker; and Dina Titus, the state’s Senate Minority Leader and 2006 gubernatorial standard-bearer.

Nevada’s 3rd district was created after the most recent census to be a battleground between Democrats and Republicans. Porter has held the seat since 2002.
— Matthew Murray

OHIO
Poll Shows Voters Want Nonpartisan Redistricting

Buckeye State voters overwhelmingly think legislative districts should be drawn in a nonpartisan or at least bipartisan matter.

More than 80 percent of voters recently told University of Akron pollsters that would be their preference, the Dayton Daily News reported last week.

The problem is, those same voters trounced a 2005 proposal to create an independent five-person commission to draw both Congressional and legislative districts.

Republicans in the state House hope to get a redistricting proposal on the 2008 ballot. It would create an independent, seven-member commission to draw all the district lines.
— N.D.