State Supreme Court to governor: No grounds to remove redistricting chair

April 20, 2012

The Arizona Supreme Court says Governor Jan Brewer had no constitutional grounds to remove the Chairperson of the Independent Redistricting Commission last year. The court reinstated Colleen Mathis in November to the panel. Today the court explained its decision. KJZZ’s Nick Blumberg reports.

Governor Brewer accused Mathis of gross misconduct and substantial neglect of duty. The governor and other Republican state leaders were upset by the proposed maps for new congressional and legislative districts.

They criticized Mathics for not creating districts that accommodated all the goals stated in the constitution.

In its explanation, the Arizona Supreme Court said there are six goals, but the first one requires any redistricting changes must meet federal voting laws. All the other goals are required to the extent practicable, or in other words if they can be met.

The justices said when the governor removed Mathis, the maps were in draft form and subject to further change. The justices also said if the governor or anyone else had a problem with the final maps, they could take their issues to court. In their opinion, the governor had no grounds to remove Mathis. The commission did complete the redistricting process. The new congressional districts were approved by the Department of Justice. New legislative districts are pending.

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