Dual lawsuits were filed Friday challenging the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission and seeking to prompt the redrawing of the commission’s legislative and congressional districts.
The lawsuit challenging the legislative maps, filed in Superior Court by attorney Mike Liburdi of Snell & Wilmer, contends the decennial maps give unfair advantage to Democrats. Thirty-nine percent of Republican state legislators were negatively impacted by the legislative lines drawn by the commission, headed by controversial chairman Colleen Coyle Mathis.
Attorney Lisa Hauser with the law firm of Gammage & Burnham has filed the federal court challenge to the congressional plan.
Gov. Jan Brewer and other Republicans have criticized the commission’s maps and the process used to draw them.
Last Fall, Mathis was ousted from her position for “gross misconduct,” only to be reinstated by the state Supreme Court.
Mathis’ husband, Christopher, a Democrat lawyer, served as treasurer for a Democrat legislative candidate in 2010 and the duo donated to other Democrat candidates. As chair, Mathis’ tie-breaking vote with the commission’s Democrat members resulted in the hiring of mapping consultant Strategic Telemetry – a company with strong ties to high-profile Democrats. Registering as an Independent served as a cloak to conceal her actual bent. Ken Strasma, the national target director of Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign is president of Washington D.C. based Strategic Telemetry.
One thing is certain. There is nothing “Independent” about Arizona’s purported Independent Redistricting Commission. It has been mired in controversy since its inception.
Thoughtful resolutions of these lawsuits should bring welcome relief to the citizens of Arizona who deserve better than they have gotten.