Redistricting petition denied by Supreme Court
November 4, 2011
The Supreme Court on Friday denied the Secretary of State’s petition for a writ demanding rulings from Carson District Judge Todd Russell.
In his ruling adopting the maps drawn by his three special masters, Russell made the legal rulings called for in the petition saying that should make the issue moot and dispose of the challenge. The high court in a unanimous order Friday agreed despite Secretary Ross Miller’s request the issues be decided anyway.
“We conclude that the issues raised by petitioner with respect to the referral of redistricting to special masters are best reviewed in the context of a direct appeal, if any, of the district court’s final order,” the order states.
“Piecemeal consideration of limited redistricting issues would be imprudent given the existence of a final order by the district court and the special timing concerns for the 2012 election,” the high court order concludes.
Miller, in a statement, said his overriding concern has been completion of the congressional and legislative district maps “in a manner that would not threaten the 2012 election timeline.”
Miller said the court’s decision setting an expedited timeline for his petition “motivated the district court to move up its hearing on proposed maps to Oct. 27 instead of Nov. 16, avoiding the local judge’s original timeline which would have jeopardized the 2012 election schedule.”
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The order cancels the Nov. 14 hearing the high court set to hear arguments in the case.
Thus far, none of the parties in the case has served notice they intend to appeal the redistricting maps approved by Russell. If none of the parties serves notice of appeal within 30 days after the Oct. 27 hearing, the maps will take effect without challenge.
However, the Republican Party hasn’t ruled out a challenge based on their belief the federal Voter Rights Act requires creation of majority-minority legislative districts to protect the ability of Hispanic voters to elect Senators and Assembly members of their choice. GOP lawyer Mark Hutchison said that is still being analyzed.
“We’re looking at the basis for any challenge to the majority-minority districts including evaluating communities of interest,” he said Monday.
Democrats have indicated they don’t plan a challenge.