by Jim Nintzel
Gov. Jan Brewer responds to the Arizona Supreme Court's decision to reverse her removal of Independent Redistricting Chairwoman Colleen Mathis:
Today’s decision by the Arizona Supreme Court is deeply regrettable. I am disappointed, certainly. More important, this misguided ruling bodes ill for the integrity of redistricting in this state.
Only after much deliberation did I act to remove the Chairwoman of the Independent Redistricting Commission. In doing so, I wielded a constitutional authority specifically granted by the voters of this state for cases in which the Governor — in his/her judgment — found that an IRC member had committed gross misconduct or acted with substantial neglect of duty. With today’s decision, the Court has substituted its judgment and authority for that which the voters specifically assigned to the Governor.
Let’s not forget why we’re here: The IRC followed an unconstitutional redistricting process, conducting too much of its business behind closed doors and disregarding mapping criteria seemingly at will. They did all of this without explanation. Knowing that redistricting is a once-a-decade process, it is critical that Arizona get it right.
With its reinstatement of the IRC Chairwoman, the Supreme Court has averted its eyes from the Commission’s misdeeds. The Chairwoman’s actions to meet in secret, arrange critical votes in advance of meetings and twist the words and spirit of the Constitution have been forgiven—if not endorsed outright.
The clearest victim in this matter is a redistricting process that voters intended to be honest, impartial and transparent. In the coming days, I’ll be considering my options as to how best to proceed.