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Republicans Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court in Arizona Redistricting Challenge

Claiming illegal political motives, attorneys for Republicans are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to void the lines drawn by the Independent Redistricting Commission for the state’s 30 legislative districts. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.

Challengers contend commission members acted improperly when they intentionally “packed” non-Hispanic Republicans into some districts. That meant remaining districts had a higher proportion of Democrats, giving candidates from that party a better chance of getting elected. Attorney Michael Liburdi said nothing in federal law forbids the use of politics in drawing legislative lines. But, he said what makes this illegal is the commission did it by ignoring constitutional requirements to create districts of equal population.

“The Republican districts are so heavily and systematically overpopulated with Republicans compared to the Democrat districts which are so heavily and systematically underpopulated with voters that it violates the Equal Protection Clause and the one person, one vote rule,” Liburdi said.

Hanging in the balance is the political makeup of the Legislature. A decision by the high court in the challengers’ favor would force the commission to redraw the maps ahead of the 2016 election, this time with districts of more equal population — and presumably with more districts favorable to Republicans.

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