How much power do Republicans in Arizona need, for cryin' out loud?
They own every statewide office in Arizona, including the governor's, and they have majorities in both chambers of the legislature, squirting out crazy bills with astonishing regularity.
The Rs currently boast a 5-4 advantage in U.S. House members from Arizona, and, of course, our two U.S. Senators are GOPers.
But power is like heroin for these guys. They're hooked and can never get enough. Which is why the tusker-controlled Arizona Legislature is challenging an amendment to the state constitution, overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2000, which forms an independent redistricting commission every ten years, giving it the authority to redraw Arizona's political map.
Legislative Republicans want that authority back, so they can gerrymander Congressional and Legislative districts to their little black hearts' content.
It's not enough that we effectively have one party rule in Arizona. No, the Rs want absolute power, the return of their veto-proof majorities in the legislature, and more and crazier Republinuts in the Congressional delegation.
To do this, they must thwart the will of the voters and overturn Prop 106. On Monday, these democracy-hating gremlins finally get to argue their case before the U.S. Supreme Court.
As in 2011, when Tea Baggers did everything in their power to harass and intimidate the AIRC -- with Governor Jan Brewer even illegally removing the AIRC's Independent chairwoman, only to be overturned by the Arizona Supreme Court -- no one covers redistricting in this state with the depth and passion of the Arizona Eagletarian blog, written by Phoenix progressive Steve Muratore.
With the assistance of donors to his GoFundMe.com account, Muratore will travel to Washington, DC this weekend, in order to be on hand for oral arguments Monday morning.
In fact, he's still accepting donations. So if you care to support a citizen journalist report on this significant issue, I urge you to dig deep.
The legislature argues that Proposition 106 violates Article I, section 4 of the U.S. Constitution, which reads:
The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of [choosing] Senators.
But the AIRC says that Prop 106 does not violate the constitution, and that the word "legislature," in this instance, is broader than the Republicans' read of it.
For example, Arizona voters have lawmaking authority through the initiative and referendum process, which in 2000 created a redistricting commission to be composed of two Democrats and two Republicans, chaired by one Independent.
Since other states have similar redistricting commissions, the Supreme Court's decision will have influence beyond the boundaries of Arizona. Several states have submitted amicus briefs supporting the AIRC's position. Ditto the U.S. Solicitor General and various other entities.
Muratore's not predicting the winner, but he does seem cautiously optimistic, to judge from his latest blog post on the issue.
"I'd say that I believe the legislature is the underdog," he wrote me via Facebook. "But I have no basis for any actual prediction."
Muratore says he's planning to post a blog Monday afternoon, following the argument before the SCOTUS.
I applaud his initiative, and I look forward to his report. Let's hope the Arizona Legislature loses big-time on this one.
The last redistricting made Arizona's political landscape just slightly more competitive, which is what Rs like state Senate President Andy Biggs are ticked about.
Worry not, Andy. Arizona remains a deep shade of scarlet.
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Any deeper, and the state will drip blood.
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