27 February 2006

Colorado Redistricting Suit Effectively Moot?

Colorado's Supreme Court ruled some time ago that Congressional redistricting may occur only once a decade in the state, and has also held that despite the language in the U.S. Constitution and Colorado Constitution that appears to leave this task to the legislature alone, that the Governor, in accordance with long standing practice, has veto power over redistricting maps.

A federal lawsuit pending in Colorado, however, seeks to overturn this ruling, and a recent U.S. Supreme Court case kept it alive for further deliberation. This suit hinges on the legislature only language to argue that the legislature can override a court drawn map.

As Colorado Luis notes, the GOP be hoping that they lose this federal lawsuit, however, because if the Democrats have control in 2006, they could very well restore the old map, or enact a new map even more favorable to the Democrats. Indeed, while Luis notes that under Colorado law a Governor could veto the plan, making this turnabout as fair play impossible in 2006 with Governor Owen's veto pen looming, I think it is equally likely that the premise of the federal lawsuit, if it prevails, could also invalidate the Governor's role in the redistricting process since it, like the Court's, is not legislative, and hence allow the Democrats to redistrict immediately to maintain the status quo without Gubinatorial approval.

This would indeed be a just reward for Republican dirty tricks in the redistricting area.

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