by Jim Nintzel
We mentioned on Tuesday that attorneys for the Independent Redistricting Commission would be taking court action to block Gov. Jan Brewer’s removal of Colleen Mathis as chairwoman of the Independent Redistricting Commission.
We haven’t been able to catch up with IRC attorney Mary O’Grady to find out the latest on her legal strategy, but we’re told by IRC staff that she’s working today on the case she’ll be taking to the Arizona Supreme Court.
We did talk yesterday with attorney Paul Charlton, who is representing Mathis. Charlton, a former U.S. attorney for Arizona, says he will ask the Arizona Supreme Court to “affirm that Miss Mathis is still the chair of the Independent Redistricting Commission.”
The gist of Charlton’s arguments:
• Brewer and the Legislature were required to meet some kind of standard before removing a commissioner.
“The governor and legislature were required to provide substantial neglect or gross misconduct, and they did neither, because none had occurred,” Charlton says.
• Gov. Jan Brewer exceeded her authority by declaring that the draft maps were unconstitutional, especially since the commission was in the process of hearing public comment on the lines and could still adjust them.
“Once those lines are final, the way to challenge those lines is in court, not in a legislative body,” Charlton says. “That is the very reason we have an Independent Redistricting Commission, to take that authority away from the Legislature.”
• Brewer and the Republican lawmakers did not grant Mathis proper due process. “Due process requires more than hearsay,” Charlton says. “It requires more than politics. That’s what happened here and why we hope to have the opportunity to convince the Arizona Supreme Court that what the governor and the legislature did was unconstitutional and illegal.”
Charlton says that Mathis’ removal “had nothing to do with the law, it had nothing to with the constitution. It had to do with political intimidation. … It’s wrong, it’s unconstitutional and it’s wholly inconsistent with what the voters put in place with Prop 106.”