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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Ind. Gov't. - "Dems, GOP Ready to Act If Supreme Court Axes House Districts"

That is the headline to a May 9th AP story by Alan Fram. The case before the SCOTUS involves congressional districts and, although Indiana is one of the 13 states listed in the story because it has a congressional redistricting commission, the immediate impact here will be nil however the decision turns out. A few quotes:

Political advisers from both parties say Republican-run Arizona and Democratic-led California are the likeliest states where lawmakers could need to redraw House district lines if the plaintiffs prevail. * * *

The justices are considering whether Arizona's independent redistricting commission, created by voters in 2000, has usurped a role the Constitution intended for state legislatures. Republicans running the state legislature filed the lawsuit after complaining that the commission helped Democrats by packing large numbers of GOP voters into just a few districts.

California voters gave similar power to an independent commission in 2010. Both states left virtually no redistricting role for their legislatures, and most experts think both would be affected if Arizona's commission is deemed unconstitutional. * * *

The nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures says commissions share redistricting power with legislatures in 11 other states. Combined, those states hold 152 seats in the 435-member House.

Since no one knows how far-reaching the justices' ruling will be, those states might also be affected in a decision expected by July. But the impact could be limited and no one expects the GOP to lose control of the House, which it dominates 247-188, including two Republican-leaning vacancies.

Control of the legislature and governor's office is divided between Democrats and Republicans in six of those 11 states, meaning neither party could dominate a redrawing of congressional lines. Those states are Iowa, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, New York and Washington.

In three others — Connecticut, Hawaii and Idaho — one party controls state government but already holds all of the state's House seats. That means a new map probably wouldn't cede House seats to that state's minority party.

That leaves Indiana and Ohio, where Republicans run state government and the House delegations are divided. Democrats hold four of 16 House seats from Ohio and two of nine from Indiana, and analysts from both parties say Republicans would be hard-pressed to win additional House seats by drawing new lines.

How is a redistricting commission involved in drawing Indiana's congressional districts? According to Ballotpedia:
In the event that both chambers of the state legislature do not approve a congressional redistricting plan, a backup commission must draw the lines.
The commission is made up of the house speaker, the senate president pro tem, the chairs of the house and senate elections committees, and an appointment made by the governor.

The case is Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. It was argued March 2, 2015. Here is the SCOTUSblog case page.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 10, 2015 01:03 PM
Posted to Indiana Government