IRC Asks Courts To Dismiss Redistricting Case Between Lawmakers, Independent Panel

October 21, 2013

The Independent Redistricting Commission wants a federal court to dismiss what its attorney claims is a power grab by Arizona lawmakers. Voters in 2000 gave the power to draw congressional and legislative district lines to the independent panel, taking it out of the hands of state lawmakers. 

But last year Republican legislators complained the lines drawn after the 2010 census favor Democrats. They contend the U.S. Constitution allows only the Legislature to draw those lines. IRC attorney Mary O’Grady tells the judges that provision is about the legislative power of the states.   

“It's up to the states to decide how it's going to define its legislative power,” O’Grady said. “In Arizona, we have it through the people and through the Legislature. And the people established the commission to exercise legislative power over redistricting.”

While she agrees the initiative took power from the Legislature, she says that’s what voters wanted. The court battle comes as the commission looks for an extra $1.2 million from lawmakers to fight three lawsuits like this, all of them filed by the Legislature.