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Supreme Court Upholds Independent Redistricting Commissions

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California's independent redistricting commission will remain intact after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of an Arizona panel responsible for drawing congressional districts Monday.

In a 5-4 decision, justices found Arizona's independent commission is legal, preserving the efforts in California and a dozen other states that use commissions to limit gerrymandering.

California's commission that draws legislative districts was created after the California Voters First Act was passed in 2008. Voters approved a measure to extend commission authority to congressional districts two years later.

“It was a question of, ‘Do you read the law literally or broadly?’” Glenn Smith, a California Western School of Law professor, told KPBS Midday Edition on Monday. “Five of the four (justices) read it broadly.”

Smith said the law allowed for voters to play a role in redistricting.

San Diego Mesa College political science professor Carl Luna said the ruling didn’t have a big effect on California.

“I don’t know if it would’ve made much of a difference in California,” Luna said. “In the long term, it could have a bigger impact.”


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