Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Surprise! Nevada Supremes Asked to Take on Redistricting

Sooner or later, this was bound to happen... However, it is happening in a funny way. Take it way, Mr. Secretary...

Secretary of State Ross Miller has asked the Nevada Supreme Court to enter the legal battle over redistricting, arguing that the Carson City judge in charge of the lawsuit over how the state should redraw its political boundaries has “impermissibly abdicated” his duty to decide legal issues critical to the case.

In an emergency writ filed with the supreme court this afternoon, Miller accused Carson District Judge James Todd Russell of failing to “resolve many of the critical legal issues that will directly impact how the maps must be drawn.”

After a lengthy hearing last month, Russell ordered three special masters to redraw the state’s congressional, assembly and senate boundaries. While Russell set the legal perimeters the masters must use to redraw the lines, he failed to rule on any of the questions brought up by both Republicans and Democrats.

Many pundits had expected one or the other of the major parties to appeal a map that overly favored the other side, but this is quite the curveball. However, it's certainly a justified one. I still can't wrap my head around Judge Russell punting pretty much everything from the Voting Rights Act to proper population divisions to this panel of special masters he's hellbent on creating. There's a reason why this case is in his court, yet Judge Russell doesn't seem all that interested in deciding anything.

So perhaps it's a blessing in disguise to get the Nevada Supremes to intervene sooner rather than later. And it really is refreshing to see them intervene due to legitimate legal issues brought up by our Secretary of State rather than another instance of ridiculous partisan political whining.

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