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Difference between revisions of "Redistricting in California"

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===Top Ten Ranking===
 
===Top Ten Ranking===
  
According to a report in the ''Washington Post'' political blog "The Fix," [[California]] is home one of the top ten redistricting battles in the nation, ranking fifth on the list. Illinois was ranked first.<ref>[http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/redistricting-battles-hit-a-fever-pitch/2011/06/03/AGN7h7HH_blog.html ''Washington Post,'' "The Fix," "Redistricting battles hit a fever pitch," June 3, 2011]</ref>
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According to a report in the ''Washington Post'' political blog "The Fix," [[California]] was home one of the top ten redistricting battles in the nation, ranking fifth on the list. Illinois was ranked first.<ref>[http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/redistricting-battles-hit-a-fever-pitch/2011/06/03/AGN7h7HH_blog.html ''Washington Post,'' "The Fix," "Redistricting battles hit a fever pitch," June 3, 2011]</ref>
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===Possible changes===
 
===Possible changes===
 
Some possibilities included the 30th District with Democratic Representatives [[Howard Berman]] and [[Brad Sherman]]; as well as the 39th District with Republican Representatives [[Ed Royce]] and [[Gary Miller]].<ref>[http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/california-incumbents-seek-new-districts-to-call-home/2011/08/10/gIQA7vN18I_blog.html ''Washington Post'' "California incumbents seek new districts to call home," August 11, 2011]</ref> Another scenario would have pitted Democratic Congressman [[Dennis Cardoza]] against either [[Jeff Denham]] or [[Jim Costa]], although speculation was that Cardoza may retire instead.<ref>[http://abclocal.go.com/kfsn/story?section=news/politics&id=8300505 ''ABC 30'' "Redistricting leaves Congressman Cardoza's future in doubt," August 10, 2011]</ref>
 
Some possibilities included the 30th District with Democratic Representatives [[Howard Berman]] and [[Brad Sherman]]; as well as the 39th District with Republican Representatives [[Ed Royce]] and [[Gary Miller]].<ref>[http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/california-incumbents-seek-new-districts-to-call-home/2011/08/10/gIQA7vN18I_blog.html ''Washington Post'' "California incumbents seek new districts to call home," August 11, 2011]</ref> Another scenario would have pitted Democratic Congressman [[Dennis Cardoza]] against either [[Jeff Denham]] or [[Jim Costa]], although speculation was that Cardoza may retire instead.<ref>[http://abclocal.go.com/kfsn/story?section=news/politics&id=8300505 ''ABC 30'' "Redistricting leaves Congressman Cardoza's future in doubt," August 10, 2011]</ref>

Revision as of 10:59, 6 December 2012

California

BP Redistricting logo.jpg

General Information
Process:   Independent Redistricting Commission
Deadline:   August 15, 2011
Total Seats to be Drawn
Congress:   53
State Senate:   40
State House:   80
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Contents

Redistricting in California in 2011 was done by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission. California voters took the redistricting powers away from legislators through the ballot process in 2008 and 2010.

California state senators represent roughly 1 million citizens while assembly members have about 500,000 constituents.[1] Those are the most citizens per legislator in the country.

California received its local census data on March 7, 2011.[2]

The California Citizens Redistricting Commission approved maps on August 15, 2011. The final votes were 13-1 on the Senate and Assembly maps and 12-2 on the Congressional map. Republican Michael Ward voted no to both maps while Jodie Filkins Webber joined Ward in dissenting on the Congressional map. A referendum to overturn the Senate map was initiated in August 2011.[3][4]

Process

The California Citizens Redistricting Commission is responsible for redistricting. This is one of 9 commissions nationwide that is responsible for redistricting. This redistricting commission is comprised of 14 members, made up of the following:

Government auditors selected eight members from a pool of 60 voters, then the first eight commission members selected chose the final 6 commissioners.

Each commissioner was paid $300 per day worked during the process.[5]

Once the maps were drawn by the commission, they had to be approved by at least nine of the 14 members. Those nine were also to contain at least three Democrats, three Republicans, and three who are not affiliated with either party.[6]

If the Commission map were to be rejected via either lawsuit or the Department of Justice, then courts would have had to draw the final maps.[7]

Leadership

2011 Commission

There were 14 members of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, originally split evenly by gender, with seven male and seven female members.[8] However, Commissioner Elaine Kuo subsequently resigned and was replaced with Commissioner Angelo Ancheta, bringing the gender balance to eight male and six female members.[9][10]

The first eight members of the commission were chosen at random on November 18, 2010. They were:[11]

Democratic Party Registered Democrat

Republican Party Registered Republican

Independent Independent or other

The final six members were chosen on December 15, 2010. They were:[6]

Democratic Party Registered Democrat

Republican Party Registered Republican

Independent Independent or other

Kuo resigned from the commission on January 14, 2011, citing time limitations as her reason for leaving the position.[12][13] Angela Ancheta was appointed to replace Kuo on the commission. Ancheta was a San Francisco resident and became the second commissioner from San Francisco County.[10]


The first 8 members were chosen in a bingo-style drawing on November 18, 2010.

Parvenu, who qualified as an Independent, was a registered Democrat for at least 20 years.[14] He said he switched because he believes that "both parties have failed the middle class."[14]

Nearly 30,000 people applied for a spot on the commission.[15] One applicant not chosen was Paul McKaskle, a chief adviser to the state Supreme Court when it handled redistricting in prior decades. Dan Walters, a political columnist, opined that McKaskle's redistricting expertise might have been a valuable asset to have on the redistricting commission. "He would bring real legal and demographic expertise to the commission, which must navigate a complex array of state and federal regulations as it draws new districts," Walters wrote.[16] However, after commissioner Stanley Forbes tried to sub McKaskle for DiGuilio-Matz at the last minute, the other commissioners determined it would be more valuable to have a representative from San Joaquin Valley.[17] Said McKaskle: "I was disappointed that I wasn't chosen. I have some friends who have urged me to apply to be the Counsel. I am thinking about it but I haven't made any decisions yet. Of course, it would be up to the commission even if I applied."[18]

Commission breakdown


Commission members Connie Malloy and Vincent Barabba discuss the process with KQED News.

The racial breakdown of the 14 commissioners was:[8]

  • 4 Asian-American members
  • 3 Hispanic members
  • 3 White members
  • 2 African-American members
  • 1 Pacific Islander member
  • 1 American Indian member

The commission's racial breakdown fell under some controversy for not being reflective of California's actual demographic breakdown. While the state was roughly 50 percent White, the commission was 21 percent White.[19]

One of the final six candidates chosen was from Los Angeles. The mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, had voiced concern that there was no initial representation from his city -- the largest in California -- on the commission.[20]

The final geographic breakdown of the 14 commissioners was:[6]

  • 4 from Los Angeles County
  • 1 from San Francisco County
  • 1 from Yolo County
  • 1 from San Diego County
  • 1 from Alameda County
  • 1 from Santa Cruz County
  • 1 from Orange County
  • 1 from Santa Clara County
  • 1 from Ventura County
  • 1 from Riverside County
  • 1 from San Joaquin County

Commission staff

The strict rules that apply to commission members also apply to the staff who are hired to facilitate the process. Lobbyists are barred from applying, as is anyone who gave more than $2,000 in political donations in a two-year cycle. One position hired was a staff counsel, who earned between $128,000 and $138,000.[18]

Daniel Claypool was hired as the executive director. Claypool, who previously worked for the Bureau of State Audits, helped pave the way for the passage of Proposition 11.[12]

Partisan Criticism

The commission came under fire for possible partisan leanings during commission meetings in March 2011.[21] In early hiring decisions, Democrats and Republicans across the state sparred over the political leanings of applicants for contracts. Democrats were generally viewed to have "won" the issue as both contracts were awarded to groups championed by Democratic affiliates.[22] However, Republican commissioner Jodie Filkins Webber said the concerns were overblown. "I don't think we can be out-maneuvered when at the end the maps ... will need three votes from the Republicans, three votes from the Democrats and three votes from the decline-to-states," she said.[23]

Map-drawing Consultant

As the commission moved to hire a map-drawing expert, both the Democratic and Republican parties bickered over the potential partisan nature of the applicants. Democrats hinted that the Rose Institute was right-leaning, while the Republicans insinuated that Karin Macdonald of Q2 Data was Democratically-biased.[24] Macdonald, Database Director at UC Berkeley, was eventually hired on March 19, 2011 which irked some Republicans. [25] One former legislative staffer, Tony Quinn, referred to the Commission's executive director as "a 'progressive' Democrat" who was "trying to sole source the line drawing job to a long time Democratic redistricting activist."[26]

Douglas Johnson, who had applied for the position from the Rose Institute, was criticized by Democrats including Jess Durfee, chair of the state Democratic Party's redistricting subcommittee. "Not only is he a Republican, he is a Republican with strong ties to Republicans," Durfee said.[27]

"It's hard to find someone with expertise who is not a partisan," said Richard Hasen, a visiting law professor at UC Irvine.[27]

The contract awarded to Q2 Data and Research was in the amount of $510,000.[28] One of the primary reasons cited for criticism of Q2 was because its partner, Bruce Cain, was the chief adviser to Assembly Democrats during the 1981 redistricting process. According to Tom Del Beccaro, chairman of the California Republican Party, "The Redistricting Commission's decision to select Q2 Data and Research, a firm widely known for its close political connection to the Democrat Party, to draw district lines defeats the very purpose of the commission's existence."[29]

Legal Firm Hired

Democrats and Republicans sparred again over the hiring of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher to serve as the advising entity regarding minority voting rights. The contract was for $150,000. The firm provided legal advice regarding the drawing of legislative, congressional and Board of Equalization districts in ways that did not dilute minority voting rights. Upon first vote, three Republicans rejected the hiring of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Only when the other competing firm -- Nielsen, Merksamer, Parrinello, Gross & Leoni -- withdrew its bid did the three dissenting commissioners reverse their vote.[30]

The contract was placed on hold on March 29 after commissioners discovered that the firm had withheld the fact that some of its attorneys were registered lobbyists. "The fact that the firm is a registered federal lobbying firm and that it gave more than $2,000 to campaigns should have been disclosed," said Commissioner Angelo Ancheta. According to documents, the firm had given thousands of dollars via a political action committee to candidates from both political parties.[31]

Research by Maplight.com reported that Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher campaign contributions predominantly favored Democrats. According to the report, since 2003 the firm's employees had given $29,700 to legislative candidates -- with roughly 75 percent of that giving toward Democratic candidates. A total of $1.2 million was donated to Congressional candidates, 70 percent to Democrats.[32]

Commission Meetings

First meeting

On January 12, 2011, the full commission met for the first time.[33] The new members were sworn-in, and commissioners discussed hiring four staff positions:

  • Executive Director
  • Administrative Assistant
  • Communications Officer
  • Chief Counsel

The commission also decided on having a system of a rotating chairmanship.[33]

We Draw The Lines

February 10-13 Meeting

The first public meeting was held February 10-13 at the Claremont Colleges' Honnold/Mudd Library.[34] The meetings lasted throughout the business day.[34]

Commissioner Peter Yao said meetings were held in Claremont because of a tenuous state budget situation. Previously, the commission had been meeting in Sacramento, but Yao said state government officials "wouldn't allow us to work on weekends" because of added state costs. At the meeting, some California residents spoke out against districts that cross county lines. "We have nine Assembly districts in San Bernardino county, and all but two of them cross county lines," said Ron Wall, chairman of the San Bernardino County Democratic party.[35]

The commission provided an agenda which included public comment.

February 23-27 Meeting

The California Citizens Redistricting Commission held another round of meetings from February 23-February 27 in Sacramento. An agenda was posted online.

One proposed timeline had the following relevant dates:

  • April 2-May 22: Hold 10 pre-map hearings to listen to citizen testimony
  • May 25: Target date to post initial draft maps
  • June 1-June 26: Hold 10 input hearings to comment on initial draft maps

At the meeting, technical staff was hired. They were to mine through the census block data and help prepare maps for the commissioners.[36]

March 17-March 23 Meeting

The commission met in Sacramento March 17-23. An agenda was posted.

March 24 Meeting

The commission met in Sacramento March 24. An agenda was posted. Public comment was heard, and the commissioners received training on the statewide database and the Voting Rights Act. Additionally, committees delivered reports and public comment was heard.

Transcripts of Commission meetings

Census Results

California retained its 53 Congressional seats, despite early speculation that it would lose one. California officials claimed that the official census figure was 1.5 million less than what the population was reported as.[37] California was not the only state upset about its population count.[38]

Based on the census figures, San Francisco was expected to lose one state Senate seat. Additionally, San Francisco looked to lose one of its 12 Congressional House seats. State Senator Leland Yee (D) had the fewest number of people in any district in the state. Mark Leno (D) had the second fewest. Both were senators for the San Francisco area. Yee insisted he would oppose the removal of one district. "I am going to fight tooth and nail to ensure we have the representation we currently have. We cannot lose any seat. The fact is one vote is not enough for San Francisco given its diversity and we need to continue to exert the power that we have always had," Lee said.[39]

According to the census results, Los Angeles County grew at a rate of 3.1 percent, which is less than a third of the state's roughly 10 percent growth. Conversely, Riverside and San Bernardino counties experienced an increase in population by 29.8 percent.[40]

A study from the Rose Institute at Claremont McKenna College found that Riverside County experienced significant population growth and would have a large increase in legislative and congressional representation. Tony Quinn, a former Republican redistricting staffer, said he "would not be surprised to see a second Latino seat."[41]

Census Data Released

On March 8, the local census data figures were released for California. "In my mind the goal of what this is, is to come up with maps that the public has confidence in, that were fairly drawn and not drawn to achieve some other, somebody else's purpose," said commission member Sam Forbes said.[42]

The predominant figures were:

  • The demographic breakdown of the state was as follows:[43]
  • 40.1 percent White
  • 37.6 percent Latino
  • 12.8 percent Asian
  • 5.8 percent African-American

Asians had the largest percentage growth in the past decade, growing 31 percent to about 4.8 million. Latinos saw a 28 percent increase to 14 million residents. While those two groups saw population spikes, Whites and African-Americans saw overall declines in California population counts. There were 861,000 fewer Whites in 2010 (5.4 percent drop). The state's African-American population fell by 1 percent to about 2.2 million residents.[43]

The fastest growing counties were Riverside (41.7 percent), Placer (40.3 percent) and Kern (26.9 percent) -- all inland locations.[44]

One million constituents

Based on the 2010 figures, William Emmerson (R) represented the most people of any state legislator in the country. His district had 1,215,876 people. The ideal district size was 931,348, thus he needed to have 284,528 people removed from his jurisdiction.[45]

California had eight senators with more than one million constituents based on 2010 data.[46] The other seven are:

Six of the eight senators were Republicans, while two were Democrats.

Meanwhile, the assembly person who held the largest district was Paul Cook (R) with 611,978 constituents. The ideal size after redistricting was 465,674.

Population deviation

Based on the new census figures, the following Congressional representatives and state legislators had the largest population deviations, and thus required the most substantial changes to their districts.[47]

U.S. House

Senate

Assembly

Top 10 Ranking

According to a report in the Washington Post, California was one of the top 10 states to watch in the 2011 redistricting process, ranked at number 4 on the list. Florida was given the distinction as the number 1 state to watch.[48]

Draft maps

On June 10, 2011, the Commission approved draft maps for Congressional, State Senate, State Assembly, and Board of Equalization Districts. These maps were shown to the public for reaction and then amended before the August 15, 2011 deadline. The maps are reproduced below.

Reaction to maps

The original timeline post-draft release was delayed as residents and commissioners alike continued to analyze draft maps.[49] Residents were given until June 28, 2011 to submit written comment. Additionally, the release of an updated version of draft maps was delayed until July 12, 2011.[50]

The majority of early feedback focused around keeping communities together and avoiding combining neighborhoods with differing needs.

  • Residents in Merced spoke out against a new Senate district that combined Merced (highly agricultural) with Santa Clary County (high-tech industries).[51] The Commission continued holding meetings throughout the state to gather input, accompanied by much larger than expected citizen turnout.
  • Minority organizations alleged that the draft maps would hurt the chances of Latinos getting elected to office. Specifically, the map could endanger U.S. Representative Loretta Sanchez.[52]
  • In Sacramento, members of the Sacramento City Council sent a joint letter with concerns to the Commission over the draft legislative maps. Several parts of Sacramento were split under the proposed Senate and Assembly maps.[53]
  • Some new "visualizations" released near the end of June 2011 showed a change in the map that would unify Napa County -- in particular American Canyon. The city had been split from Napa in the first version of maps, at both the Congressional and state legislative level. A petition was circulated that gathered 1,100 signatures to stress the city's desire to be reunited with Napa County. Additionally, the new visualization appeared to absorb the 6th Congressional District into a coastal district in Napa. The 6th District was represented by Lynn Woolsey (D) from San Francisco. She announced at the end of June 2011 that she would not seek re-election.[54] Assemblymember Jared Huffman (D) and political activist Norman Solomon expressed interest in running and opening exploratory committees. The new district would also include U.S. Representative Mike Thompson.[55]
  • Continued analysis showed a possible pick-up for Democrats of three to five Congressional seats.[56][57]
  • Residents of Moorpark and Simi Valley -- previously represented by a Congressional seat based in Ventura County -- were moved to one that was joined with residents primarily of Los Angeles.[58]
  • An analysis of the maps by the Public Policy Institute of California indicated that if the map was implemented, there would be a great number of competitive districts in the Senate, Assembly and U.S. House. However, the total number of competitive districts would still be dwarfed by the total number of seats in California.[59]
  • Residents of San Francisco were concerned that its two California State Senate districts would be consolidated into one. This would lead to the possibility of Los Angeles having 12 senators while San Francisco would have one.[60]

Second draft

After the first maps were released, Hispanic activists expressed concern over the appearance of the districts. An updated version of Los Angeles County districts from June 24, 2011 appeared to strengthen the districts of some incumbents while creating two new districts that could also be favorable to a Latino candidate. The new draft if approved would pit U.S. Representatives Howard Berman and Brad Sherman against one another. "The problem with this process is that the commissioners are building the airplane midflight and on a very expedited schedule," said Steven Ochoa of the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund.[61] Some other commentary regarding the draft cancellation:

  • Columnist Dan Walters speculated whether the redistricting panel would soon be considered a failure to citizens.[62]
  • Final maps were slated for release on July 28, 2011.[63]
  • Speculation continued that the new maps would provide the foundation to allow the Democratic Party to achieve a 2/3 majority in both the Senate and Assembly -- thereby removing the need to negotiate with the GOP over tax issues.[64]
  • One unique matter was the predicament facing Ted Gaines and Beth Gaines. Ted is a former Assemblyman who won a special election earlier in 2011 to the Senate. Beth then went on to win the special election for Ted’s Assembly seat. But the new maps indicated that Beth’s Assembly seat would likely be safe for the GOP, while Ted’s Senate district would lean strongly Democratic. This meant that if Ted wanted to protect his Senate career, he might consider moving to another district. However, doing so could have jeopardized Beth’s chances at re-election.[65]

Congressional Draft Maps

 Congressional Redistricting Draft Maps as approved by the Redistricting Commission on June 10, 2011 

Senate Draft Maps

 Senate Redistricting Draft Maps as approved by the Redistricting Commission on June 10, 2011 

Assembly Draft Maps

 Assembly Redistricting Draft Maps as approved by the Redistricting Commission on June 10, 2011 

Second maps cancelled

The California Citizens Redistricting Commission decided not to release a second round of maps. Originally the maps were to be publicized before July 28, 2011, but the commissioners voted 13-1 to instead focus on the final maps.[66] Commissioner Stanley Forbes said the schedule simply became too burdensome and map-drawers fell behind as they attempted to incorporate the comments from the first draft maps. Draft maps are not required according to the guidelines from the 2008 ballot measure.[67]

Draft maps given tentative approval

The California Citizens Redistricting Commission tentatively approved plans for California's Congressional, legislative, and Board of Equalization districts. By law, the plan must have bi-partisan support, requiring three votes from each major party and three votes from the minor party/non-partisan members. The plans were to be officially approved on August 15.

The new maps were expected to benefit state Democrats. State Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro said the maps "raised the stakes" for a two-thirds Democratic majority in the California State Legislature. In addition, the commission did not consider the residences of lawmakers, resulting in several being drawn out of their districts. Married legislators Sen. Ted Gaines (R) and Rep. Beth Gaines (R) faced the possibility of moving so that their home remained in both of their districts.[68][69][70][71]

According to Del Beccaro, at least 11 Senate seats violated the Constitution.[72]

Final approved maps

The following maps were approved by the Commission.

 California Redistricting Maps 

Congressional Maps

Impact on U.S. House Districts

Figure 1: This proposed Congressional map was created by Kristine Van Hamersveld at Draw Congress and was released on April 20, 2011.

Of the 53 Congressional Representatives at the time, only 14 had served less than 10 years.[73] Only one incumbent had been defeated since 2006.[74] However, Mike Thompson (D), current member of the U.S. House for District 1, said he did not believe the redistricting commission would be accountable to voters. "I think it's a prime example of people who don't like what 's going on looking for an easy fix," he said.[75]

For the first time, sitting legislators did not control the redistricting process. Howard Berman (D), current member of the U.S. House for District 28, said "I have no control," less than 10 years after executing influence over the 2001 redistricting.[73] Sam Farr, another sitting Representative, also expressed concern. "Members of the delegation will struggle to survive. Total uncertainty for everybody means that there will be total chaos. In Northern California, we may have to run against each other, or move, or run against state legislators. There will be no safe seats."[73] Douglas Johnson, a fellow at the Claremont McKenna College's Rose Institute, said he expected to see 9 or 10 members of the delegation not run for office in 2012. "They’ve had the good life for the last 10 years. They’ve had good districts and had no competition," he said.[74]

At the time, San Fernando Valley was represented by four white Democratic congressmen. Speculation was that 2011's redistricting process would benefit minorities at the expense of whites.[76] There were no white Democrats on the commission.[19]

A Washington Post article in April 2011 listed two sitting congressmen in a list of the top 10 most likely redistricting victims. Jerry McNerney (D) ranked 10th as he was expected to be placed in the same district as long-time representative Pete Stark. Meanwhile, David Dreier (R) came in 6th, with his home standing only miles from that of another Republican incumbent, Gary Miller.[77]

Ribbon of shame

Abel Maldonado (R) quickly declared his intention to run for Congress, likely in District 23 -- depending on how the new districts shook out.[78] That district was represented by Lois Capps (D) since 2003 and was often considered one of the most gerrymandered districts in the country -- dubbed the "Ribbon of Shame." Capps said she would also run for re-election.[79]

Gerrymandering

California's 11th, 18th, and 38th Congressional districts were featured in a Slate publication titled, "The Most Gerrymandered Congressional Districts." There were 20 districts featured from across the country. California, North Carolina and Pennslyvania were the three states with the most districts listed in the article. North Carolina had four districts while Pennsylvania had three districts.[80]

Another typical form of gerrymandering in California has been the splitting of communities into multiple districts. For example, Whittier was split between two U.S. House members -- Gary Miller (R) and Linda Sanchez (D). Similar splits occurred in the San Gabriel Valley -- where instead of three self-contained districts, there were varying portions of six different Congressional representatives.[81]

Early maps

The staff of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission released preliminary "visualization maps" on June 2, 2011, meant as a starting point for the actual maps to be released on June 10. These maps were based on the public testimony.[82] The maps did not show where incumbents currently lived, but simply visualized what districts could look like based on population and the public input. Those maps are reproduced below with additional analysis from Redistricting Partners, a political consulting group in California.[83]

 Congressional Redistricting Map Draft as released by staff on the Redistricting Commisssion on June 1, 2011 

Top Ten Ranking

According to a report in the Washington Post political blog "The Fix," California was home one of the top ten redistricting battles in the nation, ranking fifth on the list. Illinois was ranked first.[84]

Possible changes

Some possibilities included the 30th District with Democratic Representatives Howard Berman and Brad Sherman; as well as the 39th District with Republican Representatives Ed Royce and Gary Miller.[85] Another scenario would have pitted Democratic Congressman Dennis Cardoza against either Jeff Denham or Jim Costa, although speculation was that Cardoza may retire instead.[86]

Legislative Maps

Minority representation

Like much of the rest of the country, California's population growth appeared to have been heavily driven by minorities. In prior redistricting decades, minorities were split by the incumbents in order to dilute their voting power. Case in point: The San Jose neighborhood of Berryessa was more than 50 percent Asian-American and Pacific Islander -- yet there were four state assembly districts in the neighborhood.[87] Or another example is the Korean community of Los Angeles -- split into three assembly districts that did not elect a Korean candidate.[88] The commission this time around was expected to avoid fragmenting communities of interest. "There are going to be a lot of additional Hispanic officials elected when redistricting is done," said E. Mark Braden, former chief counsel to the Republican National Committee.[89]

In four counties in California -- Kings, Merced, Monterey, Yuba -- the final redistricting map would require Department of Justice approval as part of the Voting Rights Act.[90]

Census data released in early March 2011 hinted at increased representation of minorities in the legislature. "The California state legislature and the congressional delegation are about to look a lot more like California. You're going to see districts that are much more likely to elect minority candidates and a huge shift from the coast inland," said Dan Schnur, director of the University of Southern California's Unruh Institute of Politics.[43]

State Senate Map

After the 2000 redistricting process, the Senate districts were drawn up to include roughly 850,000 constituents. In 2011, that figure was now 931,000.[91]

During the 2000 redistricting process, Santa Cruz County was divided into two State Senate districts. Both senators lived outside the county -- a point of contention locally.[92] Commissioner Vince Barabba represented Capitola, and although he could not legally discuss his ideas, commissioners were meant to keep "communities of interest" intact.[93] Senate District 15 -- represented by Sam Blakeslee (R) -- included part of Santa Cruz County but also included four other surrounding counties. Santa Cruz County Treasurer Fred Keeley, who supported Proposition 11, looked forward to a new district boundary being formed. "When these people look at the census, the Voting Rights Act and communities of interest, they're going to laugh at the 15th Senate District," Keeley said.[92]

State senators Jean Fuller (R) and Michael J. Rubio (D) both lived in Bakersfield, representing District 18 and 16, respectively. Early speculation was that the dual representation of one community would be avoided in the redistricting process.[94]

State Assembly Map

During the 2000 redistricting process, a large Korean neighborhood in Los Angeles was split into three assembly districts, which then elected three representatives who were not Korean. "Whether communities are kept together or split up makes all the difference in whether the [political] game is fair," said Rosalind Gold, senior director of policy, research and advocacy at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund in Los Angeles.[88]

Imperial County Intergovernmental Relations Director Bob Ham said he expected the county's slower growth to require that the legislative districts be grouped in with Riverside or San Diego counties.[95]

When the Commission arrived in Santa Clara Valley, residents implored the commissioners to keep the community in one district. "We, for too long, have been dominated by L.A. Basin or by Bakersfield, which is 90 miles away. These people here deserve their own assembly district and I really encourage you to do that," said Scott Wilk, a local resident.[96]

Final maps

Congressional map

Based on the final approved maps, the following are selections of changes that occurred.

  • Solana Beach was moved from the 50th District to the 49th.[97]
  • The 29th District is drawn without a sitting incumbent, and could provide the opportunity for the first-ever Latino Congressman from San Fernando Valley.[98]

Senate map

Based on the final approved maps, the following are selections of changes that will occur.

  • About 186,000 residents in Coachella Valley will go two years without a traditional state senator representing them. In California, senators are elected to 4-year terms, with half of the 40 seats up every 2 years (rotating based on even/odd districts). Because the valley will now be in the new 28th Senate district, instead of the 37th District, those voters will have a “steward” representing them until the 2014 elections. The 37th District is currently represented by Bill Emmerson (R), who after the 2010 census data had the most constituents of any state legislator in the country -- 1,215,876.[99]

Public Input

In late March 2011, the Commission set its public input schedule.[100] The full list of input hearings is available here. Public hearings were to be held until late May, with a target date of June 10 to release a first draft of maps. The Commission would then hold more public hearings to gather reaction from citizens across the state. A total of 67 meetings were expected to be held across the state through July 2011.[101]

On April 8 at Shasta College in Redding, the Commission held the first public input hearing. "I think there is a great deal of cynicism among the public," said commissioner Stan Forbes.[102]

In April 2011, the California Independent Voter Network sent a letter to the Commission, urging members to remember that the redistricting process should not use political parties as a factor in the drawing of districts. According to the letter, "over 50% of California's voters identifying themselves as "independent" or "non-partisan", regardless of their formal registration."[103]

Commissioner Jodie Webber said the underlying theme at the public input hearings has been, "keep our city together, keep our county together."[104]

  • More than 100 residents from San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara County attended a public meeting on April 13, 2011. About 30 residents spoke, with the overwhelming message being that counties should not be split when new districts are drawn. "We don’t want to split counties, but you can tell from the (population) numbers we’re not going to be able to do that every time. We’re going to have to split counties. We don’t want to, but we have to get down to one single person on the congressional districts." said Commissioner Cynthia Dai.[105]
  • Roughly 200 residents attended a Long Beach meeting on April 27, 2011. Long Beach, which was entirely contained within Los Angles County, was partly represented by a Congressman from Orange County. Two Long Beach City Council members started a letter campaign to push for the new Congressional District to keep Long Beach in one county.[106] Other residents at the meeting pushed for maintaining the current districts. "Our current representation reflects the diversity and the values of this unique area," said Jacqui Stewart, a Carson resident.[107]
  • Residents in Marin County weighed in on the prospects of combining Marin and Sonoma counties into one congressional district. Marin County is bordered on three sides by water, which presented itself as a reason for the county not being split.[108]
  • At least 100 residents in Norco attended a three-hour meeting in early May 2011. At the meeting, residents urged the commission to keep communities and cities in tact. For example, a San Bernardino resident testified about the city being split among three Assembly districts when it had the population to support one.[109]

Legal issues

Republicans threaten lawsuit

Republicans announced in August 2011 that they may challenge the new legislative district maps. California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro said they may file a referendum on August 16 for the 2012 statewide ballot to overturn the maps.[110]

After the maps were approved, the California Supreme Court issued an order that any lawsuits be submitted electronically to the court in order to expedite the process. Registered voters had until September 29 (45 days) to file a challenge to the new maps.[111]

Meanwhile, Republicans were not the only critiques of the final map. The Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF) issused a statement that the group was disappointed in the final product. The National Association of Latino Elected Appointed Officials (NALEO) also expressed concern that the new maps would dilute the Hispanic vote.[112][113]

Senate map lawsuit

On September 15, 2011, Republicans filed a lawsuit seeking to repeal the new California State Senate map that was approved by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission. The suit -- which was prepared by the Fairness and Accountability in Redistricting (FAIR) organization -- asked the court to throw out the map and draw a new one.[114] Charles Bell Jr, a Sacramento attorney, filed the suit with the California Supreme Court.[115] As of September 2011, FAIR raised more than $500,000 for its referendum and lawsuit efforts.[116]

Congressional map lawsuit

On September 29, 2011, a lawsuit was filed against the Congressional districts, this time by former Republican Congressman George Radanovich along with four others. This suit asked the court to appoint a special master to draw a completely new map for all 53 districts.[117] "I think everyone deserves a fair and unbiased commission, but we didn't get one. As a Republican, I hope the master appointed by the state supreme court, if this lawsuit is successful, will do a fair and unbiased job," Radanovich said.[118]

In October 2011, Democratic U.S. House Representative Joe Baca announced that he supported the lawsuit. Baca said the commission-approved map would weaken minority influence in his district.[119]

Commission asks suits to be thrown out

In October 2011, attorneys for the California Citizens Redistricting Commission requested that the California Supreme Court toss out lawsuits related to the new maps.[120]

The commission's response to the suits can be found here.[121]

Both lawsuits dismissed

On October 26, 2011, the California Supreme Court unanimously rejected the two lawsuits that had been filed by Republicans against the Congressional and State Senate maps. In throwing out the suits, the Court also rejected GOP requests for an emergency order to halt implementation of the maps.[122]

The court vote was 7-0. "We're disappointed that the court denied the petition on the Senate districts without a hearing," said Charles H. Bell, an attorney for the plaintiffs.[123]

Appeal to federal government

After the lawsuits were rejected by the Supreme Court, GOP leaders filed arguments with the Department of Justice, charging that the Senate map was not legal because it diluted Latino voting power.[124] Radanovich and four other plaintiffs announced they would file a lawsuit in federal district court because the state court had already dismissed a prior lawsuit.[125]

On February 10, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by a group of Republicans over the new congressional district map. The suit's dismissal means that commission-drawn maps will be used in the 2012 elections.[126][127]

Additional federal suit

At the end of November 2011, a group of Republicans led by former Governor George Radanovich filed a suit in federal court alleging that the congressional map violated the Voting Rights Act and U.S. Constitution. A similar suit was thrown out by the state court earlier that year.[128] The lawsuit centered on the districts of three Democratic incumbents: Karen Bass, Maxine Waters, and Laura Richardson.[129]

Motion to stay Senate map

The group that filed a referendum to withdraw the new California State Senate map filed a motion on December 2, 2011 to request that the court immediately put a hold on using the newly drawn district map. Instead, the group requested one of three options: have a special master draw the map, use old districts, or use the new California State Assembly map and create Senate districts that combine two Assembly districts each.[130][131]

January 2012

On January 10, 2012, the California Supreme Court heard oral arguments regarding what state senate map to use in the 2012 elections. The state was reviewing submitted signatures for a referendum on the new map. If the referendum qualified, the court would decide whether the map would still be used or if a different interim map would instead be drawn up.[132][133]

At the hearing, GOP lawyers asked the court to throw out the new Senate map for the 2012 elections. The legal fight was tied to the 47-word passage of the California Constitution which uses the phrase "likely to qualify" regarding a map being removed by referendum. The court had 90 days to issue a ruling.[134] Counties had until February 24, 2012 to check signatures.[135]

Motion denied

On January 27, 2012, the State Supreme Court upheld the state Senate maps drawn by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission. The high court ruled that even if the referendum to toss the Senate maps qualified for the ballot, the new commission-drawn map should be used in the 2012 election.[136]

Referendums against new maps

Referendum to withdraw Congressional map

See also: California Referendum on U.S. Congressional Maps After Redistricting (2012)

On August 30, 2011, the Attorney General reported that a referendum was filed to overturn the Congressional map approved by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission. The measure was filed by Julie Vandermost and Charles Bell.[137] Petitioners had until November 13, 2011 to gather the required 504,760 valid signatures needed for the referendum to appear on a ballot before voters.[138] A report emerged that stated Republicans were close to dropping the referendum to withdraw Congressional maps. Sources indicated that members of the current Congressional delegation -- such as Kevin McCarthy (R) -- argued that it was not worth fighting the new maps.[139]

Referendum to withdraw Senate map

See also:California Proposition 40, Referendum on the State Senate Redistricting Plan (2012)

Meanwhile, the Republican Party backed a veto referendum to overturn the Senate map. If at least 504,760 valid petition signatures were verified, a question would appear on the June 2012 ballot as to whether the commission-approved map should be implemented or whether a new map should be drawn by the courts. "There isn't any doubt that this commission did not apply consistent standards when drawing its maps -- and the worst of that relates to Senate maps," said California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro said.[140]

On August 16, 2011, activists filed a form with the Attorney General’s office to request the titling and summary of a referendum to withdraw the State senate map. The coalition called Fairness and Accountability in Redistricting (FAIR) submitted the referendum papers. It was being run by Dave Gilliard with the support of the California Republican Party and the Senate Republican Caucus. If there were at least 504,760 signatures verified, the measure would be placed on the 2012 ballot. The Senate map as passed by the Commission would then be suspended, and a new temporary map would be drawn by the California Supreme Court for use in the 2012 state senate elections.[141]

The referendum reads:

(1) Place the revised State Senate boundaries on the ballot and prevent them from taking effect unless approved by the voters at the next statewide election; and (2) Require court-appointed officials to set interim boundaries for use in the next statewide election."[3]

On August 29, 2011, the California Citizens Redistricting Commission asked the Attorney General and Secretary of State to alter the petition wording because commissioners believed it was "misleading." The commission also contended that if successful, the referendum would not require new maps be drawn, but that the California Supreme Court could allow the new districts to still be used for the 2012 elections.[142]

Among the drive supporters were former Governor Pete Wilson and State Senate Minority Leader Bob Dutton.[143] Five other GOP senators immediately contributed more than $5,000 to the referendum group FAIR:[144]

200,000 signatures reached

The referendum on the state senate maps passed the 200,000-signature mark on September 26, 2011. The Fairness and Accountability in Redistricting (FAIR) group had until November 13 to obtain 504,760 valid signatures in order to qualify for the ballot.[146]

Six-figure donation

With less than a month to go before the signature deadline, the referendum to withdraw the new state Senate map received a $400,000 donation from the California Republican Party. The organization leading the effort said it already obtained more than 400,000 signatures.[147]

Signatures turned in

On November 10, 2011, FAIR began turning in signatures to the 57 counties across California.[148] A total of 710,924 signatures were turned in. Signature organizers believed that number was sufficient to place the measure on the November 2012 ballot.[149]

The Secretary of State of California began the lengthy process of certifying the signatures. If a full count of the signatures was required, then certification could be delayed until March 2012. If it took that long, it would ultimately clear the way for the commission-drawn maps to still be used in the June 2012 primary. Certification did not begin until late November 2011.[150]

Advance to verification

At the end of November 2011, the Secretary of State of California deemed that there were enough signatures turned in by the effort to overturn new California State Senate maps that it could advance to the next stage -- signature verification.

A total of $2.5 million was donated to the campaign to collect signatures, with more than 700,000 reported signatures turned in to the state.[128] The process could take until mid-March to complete.[151]

On February 24, 2012, the California Secretary of State's office announced that the measure had qualified for the November 2012 ballot.[152][153]

Proponents withdraw support

Supporters of Proposition 40 announced on July 12, 2012 that they were throwing in the towel and would not raise additional funds or campaign for the measure. Proposition 40 will remain on the ballot, however. Supporters said that the ballot measure was intended primarily to try and delay the implementation of the Senate map in 2012 -- however, since the Supreme Court allowed its use, the supporters felt the measure was now moot.[154]

Timeline

The redistricting commission had until August 15, 2011 to create the maps that will govern the Congressional and legislative districts until 2020. The Commission successfully certified its final maps and handed them over to the Secretary of State on August 15, 2011. [155] These maps went into effect in time for the June 5, 2012 primary.[156]

In July 2011, the commission began interviewing legal teams to hire for a court fight -- at a cost of up to $500,000.[157]

Ballot measures


Over the decades, California voters have been presented with a variety of statewide ballot propositions pertaining to redistricting.

Defeatedd Proposition 27 (2010)
Approveda Proposition 20 (2010)
Approveda Proposition 11 (2008)
Defeatedd Proposition 77 (2005)
Defeatedd Proposition 118 (1990)
Defeatedd Proposition 119 (1990)
Defeatedd Proposition 39 (1984)
Defeatedd Proposition 14 (1982)
Defeatedd Proposition 10 (1982)
Defeatedd Proposition 11 (1982)
DefeateddProposition 12 (1982)
Approveda Proposition 6 (1980)
Approveda Proposition 1 (1928)

On February 8, 2011, the Justice Department provided pre-clearance to California to implement Proposition 20. Pre-clearance makes official the California Citizens Redistricting Commission's oversight over U.S. House redistricting.[158]

Partisan Registration by District

CA Registration Table.JPG

California has the most Congressional districts of any state -- 53. California is one of 29 states that releases its full partisan registration data.

California's districts are some of the most partisan in the country. The highly protected districts are one of the leading factors behind the drive for an independent redistricting commission. The California Congressional delegation has been 34 Democrats and 19 Republicans for most of the decade. The districts are considered protected because each political party has such an overwhelming advantage in certain districts. The following are the 10 districts where Democrats have the largest percentage advantage over Republicans, in terms of number of registered voters.[159]

History

The California Redistricting process has been reshaped during the past two election cycles, as voters passed Proposition 11 in 2008 and Proposition 20 in 2010. These two propositions took control over redistricting away from the state legislature and established an independent commission that will be charged with drawing the new boundaries for Congressional and state legislative districts.

Proposition 11 was approved by a slim margin of 50.9% of the vote.[160] It authorized the creation of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission.[161] This commission is tasked with drawing the 120 legislative districts and four Board of Equalization districts. Previously, that process was governed by the California State Legislature itself. Proposition 20, which was approved by 61.3% of voters, added the task of re-drawing the boundaries of California's U.S. Congressional districts to the California Citizens Redistricting Commission first created by Proposition 11.

One reason for the polarized nature of redistricting in California are the non-uniform nature to the boundaries. The majority of districts are gerrymandered -- drawn with obscure shapes meant to strengthen the majority party's grip on the district. Tom Watson (R) -- who ran unsuccessfully for Congress against Lois Capps (D) in 2010, said, "You can drive a golf ball across [the district] in a couple of places.[162] Capps' district -- the 23rd Congressional District -- follows along the coast from Oxnard to Monterey County. It was dubbed the "ribbon of shame" by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). This district was won by a Democratic candidate in every election in the past decade. Commission-member Peter Yao said of the district: "It's been used as an example of how absurd the process is. It does not allow people to choose the candidate. They are forced to go with the party's choice."[162]

The partisan-heavy drawing of lines has been a practice of both major parties. The 46th Congressional District is considered the Republican version of the ribbon of shame, as it uses a thin strip of land from a Democratic stronghold to bolster Republican-minded voters.[162] Governor Schwarzenegger once compared California politics to that of Russia. "Out of 314 legislative and congressional elections, only one changed party hands. So it just gives you an idea of how fixed the system is. And we laugh at Putin in Russia, how his system is, but the fact of the matter is, there's more turnover in the Kremlin than there's turnover here in California. So we have to fix it."[163]

The 2000 redistricting of the 53 Congressional districts in California created unparalleled protection of incumbents. In the 5 elections that followed, the political party representing that district changed hands only once.[75] In other words, in 265 races between 2002-2010, the incumbent party won 264 times.

2001 redistricting

Figure 1: This map shows the California Congressional Districts after the 2000 census.

Knowing California's strong Democratic leaning, Republicans presented a reform proposal in 1999 that would have removed redistricting to the Supreme Court. Despite gathering adequate signatures to place the issue on the ballot, the state's highest court struck down the initiative for violation of the single subject rule. No other reform efforts collected enough signatures, and the 2001 redistricting process went forward under legislative control with a Democratic trifecta. Following the Census Bureau's delivery of 2000 results, California gained a single seat, its smallest gain in 80 years. 2000 had been a good enough year for Congressional Democrats; they picked off four Republicans and began the 107th Congress with 32 seats, over 60% of the Washington delegation. At the state level, Democrats held the Senate 26 to 14 and the Assembly 50 to 30.

2001 was also the first time California redrew boundaries after having been designated as a state without a racial majority and after passing term limits. The former impacted majority-minority seats and "one person, one vote" issues under Amendment XIV; the latter, ambitious politicos who had a chance to craft the districts they hoped to ascend to. The lack of a single clear racial minority heightened competition among all groups while any Democratic hopes to draw yet more safe districts had dual flaws. For a redistricting plan to be immune to a citizen referendum, it needed two-thirds of legislators supporting it, a number that required GOP buy-in. Former Governor Gray Davis, inching toward his eventual recall, also need Republican votes for any resolution to the energy crisis he hoped to pass.[164]

As plans were formulated and forwarded over the summer, Republicans, racked by infighting at the Congressional level over got the task of being the party's point man on redistricting issues, effectively conceded California's new seat would be a Democratic one. The GOP instead pushed for a plan to protect the incumbents they had.[165]

Democrats hired Michael Berman, at $1.36 million for 18 months of work, to spearhead redistricting. Berman had already been poring through data for the past four rounds, working up from a position as a numbers technician. Berman's total compensation was closer to $2 million thanks to Senate Democrats; 30 members of the delegation of 32 each paid Berman a $20,000 fee to ensure they would receive easily winnable district boundaries.[166] At the end of August 2001, San Bernardino Democrat John Longville, chairman of the Assembly elections committee, announced much information surrounding the Assembly's proposed plans would go online where citizens would be able to analyze and comment. His Senate counterpart, John Burton, said his chamber had not yet decided how much data to share.

The eventual Assembly map retained much to ensure the 30-20 split between Dems and the GOP would endure, leading to immediate challenges from minorities and renewed frustration from those who felt existing instances of gerrymandering remained unresolved. Senate and Congressional plans followed suit, with the newly gained U.S. House seat falling into safe Democratic territory. Ahead of September 2001 hearings, the early signal from the GOP was that they would agree to the plan - consigning them to a decade of minority status - to preserve the seats they had.[167]

As debate moved forward, Stephen Horn, a moderate Republican Congressman whose L.A. district had been all but been eliminated, announced his retirement. Gary Condit's seat had also been targeted, part of a series of signs of worries Democrats had about their embattled fellow member's political future. Complaints and threats of legal action continued pouring in from women and minority groups, centering on the alleged dilution of their voting power. Ultimately, Latinos won a concession in a contested San Fernando Valley district. On September 12, 2001, the state Senate voted 38-2 to approve its own districts and a Congressional plan. That bill was passed on to the Assembly, expected to bundle in its own map and vote on all three plans at once. On the 13th, the combined bill passed the Assembly and was forwarded to Governor Davis' desk.

Davis signed the act on September 23, 2001. The very first lawsuit came within hours. San Joaquin County officials, whose county had been split into four separate Assembly Districts and bisected in its Senate and Congressional representation, cited an unconstitutional diminution of their influence. That case, along with two similar ones, ended in min-November, when the California Supreme Court refused the hear arguments. Within days of Gov. Davis' signing, two Hispanic advocacy groups had also challenged the map. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) filed suit on October 1, 2001, naming both legislative chambers and Secretary of State Bill Jones as defendants. They later filed an additional request to delay the March 2002 primaries, pending the resolution of their suit.[168]

MALDEF's lawsuit picked up steam in late October 2001 when Assemblyman Juan Vargas, a San Diego Democrat, alleged Berman, the Democrat's architect in drawing the district maps, had punished him for refusing the pay the $20,000 fee most other lawmakers had come up with. Vargas also claimed that, when he refused to pay, Berman had told him he "might not like" the district he got. The final map included a Congressional seat that considerably weakened the Latino vote and favored incumbent Bob Filner, who did pay Berman. MALDEF also named two other Angle Democrats whom they alleged benefited illicitly from the border Michael Berman drew; Representative Brad Sherman and Representative Howard Berman - Michael's brother.

As the case went on, allegations of statements and threats mounted while some commentators suggested that MALDEF was overstating the facts when Latinos had actually done well in the redistricting process. Two Hispanic state Senators, Martha Escutia and Gloria Romero, sided against MALDEF in an op-ed piece, describing the lawsuit as "frivolous and racially divisive."In early November, a panel of Federal judges from the 9th Circuit denied MALDEF's request to delay the following spring's primary. As November ended, MALDEF was among a coalition of Latino interest groups who asked the U.S. Justice Department to overturn California's redistricting and draw fresh boundaries themselves.[169]

In June 2002, the U.S. District Court for California ruled Latino votes had note been violated, a ruling upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in January 2003. By then, however, the Golden State's complex system for reapportionment and redistricting was drawing increasing scorn, as a biased and needlessly cumbersome protocol. Though it would be some time coming, by 2011, California had switched to a commission-based redistricting plan.

Deviation from "Ideal Districts"

2000 Population Deviation[170]
Office Percentage
Congressional Districts 0.00%
State House Districts 0.00%
State Senate Districts 0.00%
Under federal law, districts may vary from an 'Ideal District' by up to 10%, though the lowest number achievable is preferred. 'Ideal Districts' are computed through simple division of the number of seats for any office into the population at the time of the Census.

Constitutional explanation

With respect to redistricting, the California Constitution provides authority to and outlines the duties of the Citizens Redistricting Commission in Article XXI.

Prior to the passage of Proposition 11 in 2008 and Proposition 20 in 2010 the Legislature was responsible for redistricting. Proposition 20 amended Section 1, Section 2, and Section 3 of Article XXI.

See also

External links

Additional reading

References

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