Davis Miles McGuire Gardner partner Joshua Carden participated in the U.S. Supreme Court’s oral arguments Monday in the Arizona State Legislature v Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission case.
Carden, who works extensively in both administrative and employment law, helped craft arguments on behalf of the Legislature for the case heard before the nine justices Monday. The Legislature argued it should recover the ability to draw the lines for the state’s nine congressional districts. Voters passed Proposition 106 in 2000, which created the Independent Redistricting Commission to draw all state legislative and federal congressional maps without any oversight by the Legislature or the people of Arizona.
“It was an honor to join the Legislature’s legal team at the counsel table, with former Solicitor General Paul Clement arguing the case,” Carden said. “The Constitution clearly states that the power to draw congressional lines resides in the ‘legislature,’ and I’ve enjoyed working with our state leaders to bring Arizona into compliance.”
The Supreme Court has never authorized the complete removal of a state legislature from the federal redistricting process. Carden said returning that function to an accountable, elected body is important, especially since those maps remain subject to the ordinary ongoing checks and balances of gubernatorial vetoes and ballot initiatives.
“Unlike an appointed board like the IRC, our elected state legislators must answer directly to the voters of Arizona for their decisions,” Carden said. “I am hopeful a majority of the Supreme Court will return the primary power over federal elections back to the legislature.” If successful, the Legislature will once again draw just the congressional district maps – the lawsuit did not challenge the IRC’s authority to draw the state legislative maps.
The oral argument transcript is available here: http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/13-1314_q8l1.pdf