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Litigation

Arizona Minority Coalition for Redistricting v. The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission

Case Information

Date Filed / Ended: March 6, 2002 / October 21, 2005
State: Arizona
Issue: Redistricting
Courts that Heard this Case: U.S District Court for the District of Arizona (Case CV-03-1036-PHX-ROS); Supreme Court State of Arizona (Case CV-03-0356-SA); Superior Court of Arizona, Maricopa County (Case CV 2002-004380); Court of Appeals, State of Arizona Division One (Case 1 CA-CV 04-0061)

Summary

In this case, Plaintiffs, the Arizona Minority Coalition for Fair Redistricting, several state legislators and others, brought Equal Protection challenges to Arizona's new districting plans for its state legislature and its congressional delegation. With respect to the redistricting plan regarding the state legislature, Plaintiffs specifically alleged that competitive districts were not created by the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission ("Commission"). As to the congressional redistricting, Plaintiffs alleged that this new plan was a violation of Equal Protection as it discriminated based on race. Part of this alleged discrimination and challenge to the improper congressional plan consisted of removing the Hopi Tribe from the same district as the Navajo Nation.

The trial court enjoined the legislative plan in question, and entered summary judgment in favor of the Commission in relation to the congressional redistricting plan. The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's holding regarding the state legislature districting plan, and remanded this claim for further analysis under rational basis, rather than strict scrutiny, review. The Court of Appeals upheld the trial court's granting of summary judgment on the Equal Protections claim regarding the congressional districting, as the Court of Appeals found that placing the Hopi Tribe in a separate district from the Navajo Nation respected the interests of both groups and the districts were properly drawn.

Court Documents

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Commentary

Edward B. Foley

The Electoral Fix We Really Need

Edward B. Foley

The Electoral College winner should be the majority choice in each state that counts towards that Electoral College victory.

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In the News

Edward B. Foley

Gerrymandering Is Headed Back to the Supreme Court

Professor Edward Foley was requoted in Mother Jones about a gerrymandering case in Wisconsin on its way to the Supreme Court. Other legal actions on partisan gerrymandering in Maryland and in North Carolina may be bound for the Supreme Court as well.

While previous Supreme Court cases have noted that partisan gerrymanders are “incompatible with democratic principles,” The New York Times originally reported, the court has never officially struck a case down. While it remains unseen how the Supreme Court will rule in the upcoming cases, a 2004 ruling from a previous gerrymandering case could play a pivotal role in how the court stands in the future. 

“The ordered working of our Republic, and of the democratic process, depends on a sense of decorum and restraint in all branches of government, and in the citizenry itself,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote in 2004. Kennedy’s statement is “the most important line” in the decision, Foley told The New York Times, adding,  “He’s going to look at what’s going on in North Carolina as the complete absence of that. I think that helps the plaintiffs in any of these cases.”


 

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Info & Analysis

U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Wisconsin Gerrymandering Case

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider a gerrymandering case involving Wisconsin state legislative districts. The court also granted a request by the state to temporarily block the lower court\'s decision until the appeal is resolved. The case is Gill v. Whitford.

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