Redistricting Commission Ready for Legal Attacks
by Brian Leubitz
When Prop 11, the first redistricting measure, was on the ballot, I was fond of saying that it would never end up drawing a map that was actually used by anybody. My suspicion at the time was that the 14 members would not be able to get the 9 member majority (3+3+3) to agree to a map. That is still a possibility, as we really have no certain indications as to how the commissioners are going to vote and how happy they are with the process. That being said, seeing how the public comment has gone, and how the webcast meetings are going, I would be surprised if they were unable to come to agreement.
But that doesn’t mean that judges may not end up making the maps. Tom Del Beccaro, the CRP Chairman has been making noises about how the maps favor Democrats. Apparently he wants districts carved out for his legislators, and doesn’t like the fact that the districts more closely represent the fact that Democrats have a rather sizable registration advantage in the state. I would be pretty shocked if the CRP or some closely related proxy group doesn’t sue shortly after the August 15 due date. He’s basically said as much:
Tom Del Beccaro, state GOP chairman, claims the panel has been “overtaken by partisanship and incompetence” in hiring legal and line-drawing advisers, and in drawing political districts, some of which he considers oddly shaped and unfair.
“It’s either shenanigans or they’re doing a terrible job,” he said. “We can’t afford either one.”
Del Beccaro said he is concerned about draft proposals that analysts say would give Democrats a strong chance to gain a two-thirds majority in the Assembly and Senate.(SacBee)
And of course the noise isn’t only from the Right, as former Senate President Don Perata says he has talked with several groups who are considering suing to block the maps as well. The Commission has the authority to protect its maps, and will do so. If I had to guess, I would say that a few districts here or there will get tweaked, but the majority will be implemented.
But, that’s only a guess, and the courts will end up sorting much of this out.