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Legislative leadership files lawsuit in Arizona over Redistricting nominees

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January 4, 2011

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Arizona State Senate President Russell Pearce has filed a lawsuit over the redistricting nominees.

TUCSON, Arizona: Republican leadership in Arizona -- Speaker Kirk Adams and State Senate President Russell Pearce -- have filed a lawsuit over a dispute with the final list of nominees for the independent Redistricting Commission in Arizona.

Arizona has a five-member redistricting commission that is responsible for drawing the legislative and Congressional districts based on the 2010 census figures. The first four members of the list are appointed as follows:

  • One appointed by the Senate President
  • One appointed by the Senate Minority Leader
  • One appointed by the House Speaker
  • One appointed by the House Minority Leader

The fifth is chosen by the first 4 members.

The Commission on Appellate Court Appointments met on December 29, 2010 to re-examine its list of 25 finalists that will be sent to the legislative leadership.[1] Despite objections from Republicans, the screening panel did not alter the list of final applicants, which has prompted a lawsuit from Republican lawmakers.[2] The vote was 9-4 to send the exact same list back to the legislators responsible for appointing commission members.[3]

Adams and Pearce had been requesting a new list of nominees, with more citizens representing areas outside of Maricopa County.[2] The Arizona Supreme Court will expedite hearings later this month to hear arguments about the controversial list of nominees. Adams and Pearce are legally required to choose their commission members by the end of January 2011.[4] Pearce and Adams contend that 3 of the 10 Republican nominees are ineligible because they hold some form of public office.[5]

The three candidates in question are Paul Bender, Mark Schnepf and Steve Sossaman.[4]

Additionally, the lawsuit notes that 2 nominees have already withdrawn, thus leaving the list incomplete.[6]

The court hearing is scheduled for January 18.[5]

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