ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona Democrats’ challenge to state’s redistricting panel list rejected

Dec 7, 2020, 6:00 PM

(AP Photo)...

(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX (AP) — A judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Democratic leaders of the Arizona Legislature who sought to disqualify two of five independents chosen as potential chairs of a commission that will redraw the state’s political district boundaries next year.

The Democrats argued that one of the independents wasn’t qualified because he registered as a lobbyist with the state utility regulation commission. They said the other wasn’t truly an independent because he held a rally for President Donald Trump at his business.

The ruling filed by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Janice Crawford on Monday flatly rejected those arguments. She said the lobbyist designation of utility company executive and attorney Thomas Loquvam doesn’t fall under the law that created the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission in 2000. And she said political activity by Flagstaff gun store owner Robert Wilson doesn’t mean he’s not qualified.

“There is no requirement that Mr. Wilson avoid, limit, or restrict his political activities,” Crawford wrote, only that he not be registered with a political party.

Crawford also listed a series of other reasons for rejecting the effort, including that doing so would require the entire process for choosing the five-member commission be restarted.

The redistricting commission was created by voters in 2000 to limit political influence by taking the job of redrawing congressional and legislative district maps from the Legislature. The process that follows each U.S. Census is politically important because where districts’ lines are drawn can influence what voices are heard and how loudly in the political debate, partly by limiting how many legislative and U.S. House seats each party can realistically win.

The commission is designed to have five members — two Democrats, two Republicans and an independent, who serves as chair. The state Commission on Appellate Court Appointments, led by Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Brutinel, vets the candidates and presents a list of 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans to leaders of the House and Senate.

The four leaders then choose one member each from the list, and those four commissioners pick the chair from another list of five qualified independent candidates the judicial screening panel provides. The chair often serves as a tiebreaker.

House and Senate leaders of both parties have already announced their choices for the commission.

The outgoing Democratic leaders of the House and Senate said Republican Gov. Doug Ducey stacked the panel that picked the nominees and lamented the ruling.

“The judge ignored the will of the voters by allowing Governor Ducey’s stacked Commission on Appellate Court Appointments to provide unqualified and biased commission candidates,” Rep. Charlene Fernandez and Sen. David Bradley said in a statement. “The purpose of the IRC is to be independent of partisan politics.”

They said that can’t happen if Loquvam or Wilson are chosen as the commission chairs.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Traffic is backed up on Interstate 10 near State Route 347 south of metro Phoenix...

KTAR.com

Report lists Phoenix, Tucson among U.S. cities with worst drivers

Two Arizona cities have landed in the top 10 of a national ranking of places with the worst drivers in the nation.

55 minutes ago

Caution tape in front of police car....

KTAR.com

2 police officers injured in crash with suspected impaired driver in Phoenix

Two police officers suffered minor injuries in a two-vehicle crash in central Phoenix early Saturday morning.

3 hours ago

Follow @KTAR923...

KTAR.com

Silver Alert issued for 80-year-old woman with dementia

Authorities issued a Silver Alert on Saturday morning for a missing 80-year-old woman who suffers from dementia.

5 hours ago

(DHAZ.gov photo)...

Damon Allred

Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to fund Yavapai County mine cleanup project

The Iron King Mine -- Humboldt Smelter Superfund site is set to receive $15 million in federal funding to support cleanup efforts.

6 hours ago

Group photo of band players for Cigarettes After Sex...

SuElen Rivera

Cigarettes After Sex to stop in Valley this fall during world tour

American dream pop band Cigarettes After Sex announced a stop in the Valley this fall during their upcoming world tour.

7 hours ago

Smalls Sliders signed a deal with an operating partner to open 22 locations in the Phoenix area. (S...

Brandon Brown/Phoenix Business Journal

Drew Brees-backed Smalls Sliders looks to open 22 locations across the Phoenix metro

Smalls Sliders has signed its largest franchise agreement to date to bring more than 20 locations to the Phoenix metro.

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

...

Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

...

Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

Arizona Democrats’ challenge to state’s redistricting panel list rejected