Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Election Law
  • Date Filed: October 2, 2014
  • Case #: 13-1314
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Court Below: 997 F. Supp. 2d 1047 (D. Ariz. 2014)
  • Full Text Opinion

1) Can a state use a commission to create congressional districts without running afoul of the Elections Clause of the U.S. Constitution and 2 U.S.C. §2a(c)? 2) Does a state legislature have standing to bring this type of suit?

The Arizona voters passed ballot initiative Proposition 106 which took the congressional redistricting power away from the state legislature and vested it in the newly formed 5 person Independent Redistricting Commission. Petitioner challenged the validity of Prop. 106 in federal district court arguing that Prop. 10 violated the Elections Clause of the U.S. Constitution by removing the power to determine where and how congressional elections are conducted from and the legislature as the Elections Clause directs. Respondent argued that legislative power was all that is needed to meet the requirements of the Elections Clauses and a ballot initiative is legislative power.

The district court granted Respondent’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim and denied Respondent’s motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction for lack of standing and Petitioner’s motion for preliminary injunction.

The Supreme Court has postponed looking into the question of jurisdiction until the case has a hearing on the merits of two questions that it raises; “1) Do the Elections Clause of the United States Constitution and 2 U. S. C. §2a(c) permit Arizona’s use of a commission to adopt congressional districts? 2) Does the Arizona Legislature have standing to bring this suit?”

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