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Supreme Court Upholds Independent Redistricting Commissions

Supreme Court Upholds Independent Redistricting Commissions


Glenn Smith, constitutional law professor, California Western School of Law

Carl Luna, political science professor, San Diego Mesa College


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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