CalChamber, Past Governors Defend Citizen Redistricting

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The California Chamber of Commerce, three former California Governors and California redistricting proponents are supporting the constitutionality of an Arizona voter-approved redistricting commission before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The friend-of-the-court brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court supports the constitutionality of Arizona citizens’ decision to have congressional voting lines drawn by an independent redistricting commission rather than legislators.

A similar commission was formed by California voters in 2010.

The brief was jointly filed by the CalChamber, former California Governors George Deukmejian, Pete Wilson and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and redistricting proponents Charles T. Munger Jr. and Bill Mundell.

CalChamber President and CEO Allan Zaremberg and then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appear at a September 23, 2008 news conference at the State Capitol to encourage voters to support the redistricting reform in Proposition 11. Photo by Aaron Lambert

CalChamber President and CEO Allan Zaremberg and then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appear at a September 23, 2008 news conference at the State Capitol to encourage voters to support the redistricting reform in Proposition 11. Photo by Aaron Lambert

Fair, Competitive Elections

“The lines drawn by California’s Citizens Redistricting Commission have resulted in the fairest and most competitive elections in California history,” said CalChamber President and CEO Allan Zaremberg.

“California voters firmly agreed with CalChamber and former Governors Deukmejian, Wilson and Schwarzenegger and Mr. Munger and Mr. Mundell that passing Propositions 11 and 20 were key to eliminating the inherent conflict of interest when legislators draw self-serving district boundary lines following each census.

“The Arizona litigation jeopardizes the will of the California electorate and its embrace of fair redistricting and competitive elections. It is imperative, through this amicus brief, to let the U.S. Supreme Court know the importance of this case to fair elections in California.”

Proposition 11 of 2008 gave the task of redrawing state legislative districts to the Citizens Redistricting Commission.

Proposition 20 of 2010 extended to the citizens commission authority for drafting congressional district boundaries.

Arizona Case

Last October, the U.S. high court agreed to hear arguments in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, et al. The case involves a constitutional challenge by Arizona state legislators in the wake of a vote by the people of Arizona in 2000 to form the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.

Arizona state legislators contend they alone have the authority to determine the lines for congressional election districts and filed a lawsuit challenging formation of the independent commission in the U.S. District Court of Arizona on June 6, 2012.

In February 2014, a three-judge panel rejected the Arizona legislators’ argument, upholding the ability of voters to establish the commission. Subsequently, Arizona legislators appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The matter is expected to be heard on March 2.

A copy of the brief, filed January 23, is available at www.calchamber.com.

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