High court refuses to block masters from drawing maps
October 9, 2011
The Nevada Supreme Court Friday refused to issue orders preventing the special masters charged with drawing redistricting maps from starting that process until legal issues in the case are resolved.
In an order issued earlier this week, the high court set a Nov. 14 hearing on the petition seeking an order that directs District Judge Todd Russell to rule on those legal issues.
Secretary of State Ross Miller filed a petition after that ruling seeking an order allowing the three masters to meet Monday and Tuesday, but preventing them from beginning to draw legislative and congressional district maps until after the Nov. 14 hearing.
The petition argued that serious harm would result if the masters draw maps before the court rules on the petition to force a ruling on legal issues in the case including whether majority/minority districts for Hispanic voters are required to meet the federal Voter Rights Act.
Failure to do so, Miller argued, could result in maps that are “burdened with changeable legal insufficiencies” and result in unnecessary loss of time and costs to the parties in the case.
The high court rejected the petition.
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“Strong public policy reasons dictate that the parties’ concerns are subordinate to the general public’s interest in having this redistricting matter resolved expediently so as to avoid continued and ongoing disruption to Nevada’s election process,” the justices wrote. “While the upcoming proceedings in district court could cause additional cost to the parties involved in this litigation, the public’s interest in a quick and successful resolution to the redistricting process compels us to allow the district court proceedings to take place in tandem with the writ proceedings in this court.”
The order concludes that the public’s interest “must predominate over any harm suffered by the parties.”