10:55 a.m. The California Supreme Court has ruled that the State Senate maps drawn by the California Citizen's Redistricting Commission can be used in the Nov. 2012 election. Read the full decision here; it's also embedded below.
KQED Sacramento Bureau Chief John Myers reports on today's decision:
Today's ruling is a sound rejection of critics of the independent citizens panel's political maps. After losing a bid late last year to have the state Senate districts thrown out on constitutional questions, today they lost their only other argument to block the maps for the 2012 elections.
The case stems from a small (and unpublicized) passage inside 2010's Proposition 20, one that seems to trigger a temporary "stay" of the citizens panel maps in the event a ballot referendum is likely to qualify. And a GOP campaign committee has submitted enough signatures that, at this point, appear a referendum on the map will appear on the November ballot.
The question for the court appeared to be whether that GOP referendum was, in fact, "likely" to qualify. But in a lengthy ruling, the justices essentially said it didn't matter. They write that even if the measure qualifies, the only legally acceptable map at this juncture (candidates begin filing for office in a matter of weeks) is the Senate map drawn by the Citizens Redistricting Commission. That map has been found legally acceptable in every other examination... and thus was a strong work product that the Courts saw no reason to overturn.
The political implications for Republicans are the ongoing story. After spending some $2 million to qualify the referendum, many believe that political process was carried out solely to try to force the commission's map (which may result in fewer GOP state senators) to be blocked in court. Now that the courts are taking a pass, it's unlikely the cash-poor GOP can raise enough money for a successful ballot measure campaign. And even if they are successful with the referendum come November, that would only mean new district lines drawn for 2014. For this year's elections -- where Democrats could conceivably capture a supermajority of the state Senate -- the citizens commission map is now fully authorized to be used.
John Myers is tweeting about the decision:
- CA Supreme Ct says CA Redistricting Commission can be used for 2012 Senate elections.
- CASupCt: if the CA Redistricting referendum qualifies, then the commmission's Senate map will be used as "interim."
- All 7 justices on CA SupCt concur in allowing CA Redistricting panel's Senate map to be used for 2012. Clean sweep.
- So only way CA Redistricting commission's Senate maps are nixed is if referendum qualifies for Nov & voters overturn.
- Justice Goodwin Liu writes, "The Commission map is superior to the proposed alternatives."
- CA SupCt ruling seems 2 carefully say its approval of CA Redistricting commish's Senate map for 2012 is one-time deal.
- If the referendum qualifies & voters overturn the CA Redistricting Senate maps, by law the Ct would then oversee new ones.
- CA Redistricting referendum campaign mgr slams decision, likens Chief Justice Cantil-Sakayue 2 recalled chief Rose Bird.
- GOP strategist Dave Gilliard: Chief Justice applied "flawed, politically-based precedent established by former Chief Justice Rose Bird."
- Worth noting in GOP CA Redistricting campaign's anger toward Chief Justice: 6 of 7 justices appointed by GOP guvs.
John Myers will be posting a report soon at Capital Notes.
Here's the decision...