Arizona Legal Battle Continues Over Redistricting Chief

Posted November 21, 2011 at 7:09pm

Arizona’s redistricting litigation has dragged on another day.
 
Four days after the Arizona Supreme Court overruled Gov. Jan Brewer’s (R) removal of the state’s Independent Redistricting Commission chairwoman, Brewer and the Arizona State Senate filed two legal motions requesting that the court reconsider its ruling.
 
Brewer and the Senate also requested the court stay the reinstatement of Chairwoman Colleen Mathis “until further clarity is provided.” A supermajority of state Senate Republicans had given Brewer the legal consent to remove Mathis on Nov. 1, citing “substantial neglect of duty and gross misconduct,” the legal grounds required for removal.
 
Brewer went on today to call the court’s Thursday decision “untenable,” adding, “At a minimum, the chairwoman should be barred from assuming her duties until the court has provided clarity regarding its cursory order.”
 
The Arizona redistricting process has become one of the nastiest and most litigious of the year. In early October, the bipartisan commission released a redistricting draft map that upset Republicans. The new lines allowed the potential for Democrats to pick up seats in the next cycle, even though Republicans dominate state politics.
 
Brewer and the Senate caught national attention when they removed Mathis on Nov. 1. Then on Thursday, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled in favor of Mathis in her appeal for reinstatement. The court order stated that Brewer did not sufficiently demonstrate neglect or misconduct.
 
In a Friday news release, Mathis said she was “hopeful” that the commission could have maps ready to send to the Justice Department for pre-clearance before Christmas.