Tuesday , May 28 2024

Supreme Court Upholds Independent Redistricting Commission

A decision by the supreme court is keeping California State Election Districts exactly where they are.

The court announced the 5 to 4 ruling Monday to uphold the constitutionality of Arizona’s Independent Redistricting Commission, the same type of redistricting that’s practiced here in California.

Independent commissions are non-partisan groups of people who take the responsibility of drawing district lines out of legislators hands.

"The voters chose to take this power away from the legislature," Fresno State Political Science Professor Dr. Tom Holyoke said.

Holyoke says California adopted an independent commission years ago.

"It was argued before the court that these independent commissions are in fact unconstitutional," Holyoke said.

It was used to promote fairness when drawing legislative and congressional districts lines and to prevent gerrymandering.

"Drawing districts to favor one political party over another," Holyoke said.

On Monday, the Supreme Court sided with Arizona and California voters, announcing their support for independent commissions, ruling 5-4 that they are in fact, constitutional.

"If it had been struck down in Arizona, then it most certainly the one in California would’ve also been declared illegal," Holyoke said.

If that would’ve happened, district lines would’ve been re-drawn by legislators, and current politicians may have been forced to run against each other.

"There was just a million rumors and a lot of speculation out there, there’s no way for us to know what would’ve happened. I think the focus just needs to be on, I think, the people continue to have the power," Congressman David Valadao said.

Rachel Eslick with Fresno Chamber of Commerce says they backed the 2008 initiative to enact an independent commission, and says the voters have the right to decide.
 
"We just felt strongly that an independent commission was the most fair way to do it, the most fair way to get reasonable, business-minded people into office," Eslick said.

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