WASHINGTON (AP)— The Supreme Court has upheld Arizona congressional districts drawn by an independent commission and rejected a constitutional challenge from Republican lawmakers.
The 5-4 outcome Monday preserves efforts in 13 states to limit partisan influence in redistricting. Most notably, California uses an independent commission to draw electoral boundaries for its largest-in-the-nation congressional delegation.
The decision signaled a big victory for campaign reformers. “What California’s done has had a remarkable impact in terms of leading to more independent, less partisan members of Congress being elected,” said KCBS Political Analyst Marc Sandalow.
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He added that through the independent commission, there have been 27 new members of Congress in California over the last two elections.
“That’s been fantastic for the ‘good’ government, ‘Let’s get the boys, the partisans, out’. It’s worked very well.”
But the problem is, he says, is that people are being elected to the House and Senate, where seniority tends to rule.
“The longer you’re there, the more power you get. When the old veterans leave the House, they’re also leaving behind the sort of seniority that gets them into positions of power. What happens is if California does these independent commissions, but New York, Texas and other big states don’t, well their members are raising up the seniority ranks while Californians are not. So it’s unilaterally disarming.”