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Supreme Court Upholds Independent Redistricting Commissions

Supreme Court Upholds Independent Redistricting Commissions
Supreme Court Upholds Independent Redistricting Commissions
Supreme Court Upholds Independent Redistricting Commissions GUESTS: Glenn Smith, constitutional law professor, California Western School of Law Carl Luna, political science professor, San Diego Mesa College

Our top story on the day edition, and one of the last US Supreme Court decisions of the year, the court gave a green light to the type of Simpson redistricting commission we have set up in California. Case originated in Arizona were state legislators challenged right of citizens commission to draw putting district. Government reformers see the sort -- court decision as a blow to the practice of gerrymandering. That's when legislators great putting district boundaries in an effort to maintain their medical power. Joining me are depressed or -- and Carlton empirical science professor at Mesa College. It's good to see a pretty Good to be here. Court watchers see this ruling about redistricting as something a surprise because back at this is a good example of how you have to be careful reading tea leaves from oral argument That seemed very decisive against Arizona's plan and by application California. People were surprised that just as Ginsburg wrote the opinion and Justice Kennedy joined it and it was a surprising victory for this kind of limited but important reform of districting. Was the basis of the challenge to the citizens redistricting committee and Arizona. For talking last week about the Fort Worth of the Obama care. This was to earth because back at the legislature in the Constitution. When the framers aside time place and manner of election should be done by the lists that year, they literally mean only the state legislature or in states like Arizona and comfortably have a long tradition of the people by voters initiative acting like college lecture where they included within that term? Is a question of do you read that literally or do we did more broadly and I to four, the court would broadly The Ursuline -- errors in the legislators brought the lawsuit because he felt committees were taking their power away? Yes. There is limited legislative input. California does not any. They said the Constitution gave us the responsibility to decide how federal electric districts and other election practices would be done. Here are the voters cutting us out of the process in violation of the Constitution. Said the decision was written by Justice Ginsburg? Yes. Why did she say that constitutional language, the legislature should -- did prohibit crating citizens committees. Two basic areas. The first set when the premise wrote that language that was in the stew, they were mainly concerned about converses ability to override state practices that were based on inappropriate political motivation. They weren't concerned about how a state would decide to allocate the power at state level She also relied significantly on a long-standing federal law that has clearly suggested at least Congress thought it was legitimate for state voters to have a role in this process. The dissent by Chief Justice Roberts said that statute is irrelevant, Congress can't authorize a violation of the Constitution. The majority said the provision is unclear, we should read in light of commerce of long standing sense that there's a role for voters to play Voters are the ultimate legislators. Yes. At least the limits of the Constitution allowed that. Carl Luna, company has a redistricting committee, was there concerned that would go away if the high court decided the other way on this case? The case have to do with Arizona. The court ruled only wish that you would have to do it and that would have to be challenged in California and brought down for the I don't know full have made much of a difference all things told because we had the citizens commission I was one of the final 60 the original commission that was sent to the legislature. I twitch a written record and got taken out. When you look at it, but because don't have a lot to gain if this were shot down in company because it's on the couple seats that are possibly questionable now back and forth between the two parties because In long-term the theoretical issue may be in the future could have a bigger impact, Paul impact of the citizens commission was to draw districts which would be more balanced to get more competition and more moderate selected. People have moved. They no longer living in mixed neighborhoods in terms of legal ideology. These machinations of how you draw the lines really don't work as well because we are polarized as a society. If this were to have affected the citizens we district -- we district in committee. It goes back to legislature. We get these strange looking districts that have a tiny little bubble over here and in a long line and all of that. That's when legislature was doing it. If you notice, you take Juan Vargas's district which starts in South Bay and ends in Utah, that goes away east. You still get districts drawn like that because they are supposed representatives and kiddies don't fall into neat little blocks. They fall roads and rivers and the rest set up things they get some of this matter what Are commission was approved by voters to set state legislature voting districts. Congressional voting districts, how has that worked out? Have you seen any noticeable difference? Sky peers. That sort worked out. In San Diego Scott peters district has come back and forth Republican Democrats. He was in 2016 at depends on who the Balkans district Republicans put up, there's the rule of three. Three elections in Congress you're good to retirements. You got that incumbency built up so even that district may become solidly Democrat or strongly Democrat in the elections to come. Let me ask a broader question. Many legislature around the country have John voting districts so politically minded that some say the present clinical makeup in Congress is almost locked in a place. Could this decision change that? If United States adopted this redistricting, on the margins, you have to look at the 30 solidly red states, that's the ultimate polarization and gerrymandering we had. I would to senators, you got Wyoming with two senators and their populations which are the size of Chula Vista. It doesn't make sense in the long-term price The way the system works being the states being the ultimate medical Association you will skew things directly for Republicans until 2030 consensus -- senses. That's when underlying demographics play out beyond the note to gerrymander around them. Wasn't that the background noise in this decision? This would break in that locked in place thing? It's going to have a marginally effective tool. It's better -- if you're concerned about gerrymandering, it's better to have the decision comes out this way than the other way. The other -- figure lack of leadership in the Supreme Court, for decades the corporate noises about the fact if you had a person gerrymandering this completely stream. If one party or the other tried to rig the system to the You could go to the court and get the Constitution to rule against that. The court was never successful in defining what the standard Western Have largely given up on that. The story occurs as a minor attempts to make up for the fact that the court wasn't able to break the law -- logjam on the bigger issue. This is less a five for decision. Who wrote the dissent? Chief justice Roberts. Justices Scalia and Thomas Woodhouse said legislature didn't have legal standing to raise the argument. They said if we have to reach the merits, we agree with Roberts. It was a 522 decision technically. Was on the big issue of how to interpret the Constitution and did the framers foreclose initiative and voter involvement and it was 54. Was this another literal interpretation I justice Roberts? It was. There is a fairly strong symmetry between justice Roberts dissent the same-sex marriage case and this one. It's adjusting. Can you give us a brief analysis of the final two decisions the court this year. The one about the lethal injection and EPA pollution? Guesswork is back at the lethal injection case didn't technically -- technically involved three states that used a three drug method of lethal injection or the death penalty. California has just announced it's not going to go anywhere near that. Didn't technically apply to us because It was in some ways a very tactical decision about an initial injection how much do defer to state courts. What was the big take away from this case is you had for Justices, two on each side writing very strong concurring and dissenting opinions say maybe the death penalty itself is unconstitutional. That the two justices thinking that is enough to sway the court but as a continued indication of the long-standing controversy about the death penalty. IPv4 on this case, the court upheld the right of states to use death penalty methods of execution unless a prisoner could show that there was no alternative that was substantially less risky. That's what that case was about. EPA relation cases is one of these codgers like this should statutory interpretation so basically what the court majority saw is the pay wasn't looking at cost at all and that was unreasonable. Do we know it cases the court will look at next year? They have some already. There are two Re: checking the attention. When they granted review or today which is the ongoing issue about affirmative action and University of Texas. The cases back for the court the second time and could be an opportunity for the court to adjust how rigorously affirmative action is challenged. Then there's another case that's about a bigger case about district which is unconstitutional to use -- to district based on population, you have to use voters. That's interesting. It pits states rights, justices against the right at Texas to use their percent methods. A lot of people will be following up the As always, she know from following this with me, there's always etched in cases that get added as the court term progresses. Just briefly, as a final question, I want to know this Supreme Court has been reviewed and Britain about as a conservative court. In the last two big decisions, from Obama care, same sex marriages, to wins for liberal causes. To think this will change the way the court is viewed? I think it will if you look at this particular term in the short run. A term is often a function of which cases come up and which way the low cars decided and how many opportunities for being liberal versus conservative are there? There's some truth to the narrative that the Liberals court" did unpredictably well this time ago you have the ultimate question which is if the court moves liberal, you have to look at where they start from. They move liberal conservative position, how important is that? I want to ask you coral, we can't help but notice there are a lot of Republicans are running for president. 13 have announced, New Jersey Governor. Chris Estes said to enter the race tomorrow. Some people say that's a good thing for the party? What do you think? It's a good thing to agree. You want to have temperance in all matters. Seven or eight good candidates is a good thing. 14 include a lot of people are other simply to sell future books, isn't a good thing in the whips up the less kind angels of the party. Images inspire the party to win a general election. You have a lot of people playing to small fringe groups within the Republican Party which if you put together are not good to be able to make the party Bible in 2016. If the Republicans don't have a good showing in 2016, I whatever their ability to survive as a national party as opposed to a bunch of regional state parties in particular a southern party which is where the base is really strongest. Some competition is good. Delegates would do better to have two or three people. When you get to 14 or 15 it becomes a three ring circus. Does is tend to advertise this Mac energize voters? A lot of modern it turns them off. In the primaries, you have to appeal to the voter turnout which is the more conservative wing of the party. If you 14 people going after that Sharon about to have to find those smaller and smaller wedge issues to focus on. Is going to leave a lot of Republicans when it were to go, Paul. They will look at a lot of things said over the process of the primaries and it could sour the brand Look at statement on immigration and gay marriage. In the fall, I understand the Pope is coming up to talk to Congress to He came out with something on climate change. There are a ton of issues that could hurt the Republicans over the course of this primary I'm glad I got a chance to ask you that. I've been speaking with Glenn Smith and Carlton empirical science professor

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.”