Governor Jan Brewer, no doubt under direct orders from her puppetmaster consultant Chuck Coughlin, has removed Colleen Mathis as chair of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, calling a special session of the state Legislature, so the state Senate, controlled by a supermajority of Republicans, can dutifully concur.
"The Arizona Constitution provides that the Governor has direct oversight of the Independent Redistricting Commission, as well as the ability to remove any member due to 'substantial neglect of duty' or 'gross misconduct in office,'" Brewer's quoted as stating in a press release issued minutes ago. "I invoked that authority today with my decision to remove IRC Chairwoman Colleen Mathis, and I've called the Arizona Legislature into Special Session so that the State Senate may concur with this removal, in accordance with the Constitution."
The statement from Governor Coughlin, um, I mean, Governor Brewer continues:
"I recognize that my decision will not be popular in some quarters. I certainly did not reach it lightly. However, the conduct of the IRC -- led by Chairwoman Mathis -- has created a cloud of suspicion that will not lift. A flawed redistricting process has resulted in flawed district maps. As Chairwoman of this Commission, the buck stops with Ms. Mathis."
The citizens of Arizona can now be assured that whenever an honest, non-partisan individual such as Mathis steps forward to work without compensation on behalf of an "independent" body created by Arizonans to remove politics from the redistricting process, that individual will be vilified and hounded from office by hard-right partisans.
The governor called the special session today. In fact, it's already over, blood on the floor. Hey, thanks for the advance notice to the public, Guv. What, are you afraid someone might actually pay attention as you and your fellow GOPers trash the constitution?
What was the rush? Because if they gave the people of Arizona a minute, at least some of them would have mobilized against this travesty.
But we can't have that now, can we? Yahweh help us if democracy were to break out across this state. The Rs might lose a couple of seats in the Legislature, then.
For a blow-by-blow, check Steve Muratore's account on Arizona Eagletarian.
Addendum: If you want to get really mad, check out this proclamation from today, signed by Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, ordering the special session to begin at 4:45 p.m.
The governor's office sent this out to the media with the statement quoted from above at exactly 5:13 p.m.
To be fair, Matt Benson, the governor's press secretary, tells me he sent out the release shortly after the legislature was notified. Still, the Rs knew they were going to do this, and do it so quickly that it would be over before it began.
Arizonans should take this for what it is: Complete and utter contempt for the electorate, the Fourth Estate, and anyone who does not do Chuck Coughlin's bidding.
So tell me this, folks, are you going to get angry and act? Call the governor's office, call your representatives, call the SOS, deluge them with e-mails and letters?
If not, we deserve what we get. Or what we've got, to be more accurate: A banana republic without the republic, rotten with corruption, ruled by a small clique of extremist Republicans and lobbyists.
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Shame on Ken Bennett, BTW, I thought better of him. Really. Though, I know that he was following orders, too. See, Brewer is still on tour eating Scorpions for Breakfast. (Benson says in NYC.) And when she returns, she may have to eat a few over this.
Last thought: See that guy to the left of Brewer in the pic above? That's Republican Joe Kanefield, currently president of the State Bar of Arizona and one of the AIRC's lawyers, though he's recused himself from the current jousting with the Governor.
That's because he used to be the governor's counsel. That photo is from 2010, before U.S. District Court Judge Susan R. Bolton enjoined most of Senate Bill 1070.
Must be some crazy, ultra-liberal kinda AIRC if it has Kanefield as one of its attorneys. Whew.