Wednesday, April 20, 2016

READ: Redistricting Eyes Now Turn To Superior Court, Where AZSOS Reagan, AG Brnovich Would Rather Fight AND Switch

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has today knocked down Republicans' challenges to Arizona's redistricting process and maps (for the 2nd time), all interested eyes will turn to a 3rd, still-active case in Maricopa County Superior Court.

There, last month, the judge (Hon. Roger Brodman) denied the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission's ("AIRC's") motion to disqualify Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan and Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich from taking an active role on behalf of the Plaintiffs...even though they are named as Defendants.

The 7-page minute entry from March 14 (posted below) concludes that the politicians can fight and switch because they are only nominal defendants and since it will not end in a jury trial, there will be no prejudice, and "(i)t will not be decided on political posturing of any of the participants in this case."

The judge notes that discovery in the 2012 case will be cut off shortly, and that the AIRC raised the close issue of whether the AG's office should be disqualified under the rules of ethics was not made in time. Reagan and Brnovich's offices made the declaration of fighting and switching to the Plaintiffs' side in September 2015, but the motion to disqualify was not made until December 16.

You may recall that the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia joked around with Brnovich about the identical side-switch on December 8 when the Attorney General argued on behalf of the Republican-backed plaintiffs in the Harris case. "What happened? Was there an election in between or something," asked Scalia. "Yes, and I won overwhelmingly," was Brnovich's reply.

Through last June, the AIRC had spent $1M of taxpayers' funds defending the Leach suit ($3.65M for the three cases).  Arizona's Politics has requested an updated figure.

(This article was contributed by Tempe election law attorney Paul Weich. He does not represent any of the parties listed in this article.)

*In a related article, Arizona's Politics reported about how dark money funded some of the redistricting challenge.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

No comments: