Thursday, November 17, 2011

AZ Sup. Ct. Reinstates Redistricting Chair

I mentioned earlier that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) had threatened to impeach Colleen Mathis, the chair of the state's independent redistricting committee, nominally for relatively non-specified malfeasance, in reality because the commission produced a map that was "only" slanted 4-2 in favor of Republican safe seats over Democratic ones (with another 3 seats competitive). Well, she followed through with their threat and the Republican-controlled state senate impeached Mathis. Mathis and the commissioned then sued, and today the Arizona Supreme Court just ordered her reinstated. The order is here, with a fuller opinion to follow.

Like David Nir, I am a bit surprised by this decision -- not because I didn't think the move by the Arizona state senate was a reckless abuse of power (it was), but because I thought this could easily be considered a non-justiciable political question. The Court concluded that it was not (not being particularly knowledgeable about Arizona state law, I have no idea whether they are correct or not), and found that the letter Brewer sent to Mathis spelling out her "allegations" did not rise to the level of offenses warranting impeachment.

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