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I agree completely that the selection process for judges in Arizona is very political. But what is your recommendation for replacement? Election? Straight governor appointment with Senate confirmation? It seems to me that the alternatives are all political in nature. But I could be missing something.

You can't remove politics from anything that is inherently political and claiming to do so is ridiculous. You can, however, make the process more transparent in the hopes that parties will be more careful in the political decisions they make.

Todd, that's the most cogent and intellectually honest comment I've ever read from you. Congratulations and welcome to the real world. Let's hope you stay.

We should get this process out of the shadows and into the federal-style process with some real accountability. And therefore media scrutiny and increased public interest.

Where are all the people who gush over "democracy" advocating for electing judges and restoring redistricting to the legislature? Oh yeah, they're generally the strongest proponents of "merit" selection & "independent" redistricting. Regardless of whether you support "democracy" or realize we still (barely) live in a republic, placing any function in the hands of unelected politicos who are unaccountable to the voters cannot possibly add more liberty to a free society.

Rep Murphy - you can blame 'reformers' but the real culprits are legislatures that continue to refuse to follow the clear wishes of the general public to stop gerrymandering districts to protect incumbents. We do live in a representative democracy after all, but, as one politician put it, the voters used to chose the politicians but now the politicians choose the voters.

Todd is right about the motives of legislatures, but the Commission is officially trying to gerrymander districts for an even more onerous purpose: equal representation by parties. They call it creating "competitive" districts. Nonsense.

Whether a commission does it or the legislature does it, districts have to account for "communities of interest" (i.e. minorities) when drawing the district lines. Add to that the fact that Arizona is a state in which federal approval of the district lines is mandated because of past (ancient, really) abuses of minorities at the polls. So no matter who draws the lines, someone is going to feel aggrieved and will file suit. Therefore, the courts, more than anyone have the final say. This is not how this process was intended. But... as cumbersome and nettlesome as this process is, it's better than what Hugo Chavez or Kim Jong Il has up his sleeve.

Doug,

"Communities of Interest" is not the same as D.O.J. requirement for minority/majority representation. Different criteria entirely.

And to Greybeard's, point, competition is measured on the registrations of the two major parties because we don't really have another good option. A greater number of competitive districts will help those who consider themselves independent, as they are more likely to become the swing voters.

Even with the current level of minority/majority districts, Arizona could have at least 10 competitive districts in the state legislature.

Competitive districts don't help Dems or Reps. They help voters to get more responsive lawmaking.

James Huntwork, a Republican who was on the first redistricting commission, explains in the link below, why the requirements for Minority-Majority Districts in the Federal Voting Rights Act make a larger number of competitive districts impossible. Do the math, Mr. Clark, and you'll see that you are asking for something that can't be done anymore than you can square a circle.

http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/opinions/articles/2010/12/17/20101217redistrict-huntwork18.html

Rep. Rick Murphy

November 4, 2010 Kalifornia's radical voters removed redistricting as a legislative function.

Jerry may mander less!

Civil Rights Rule,

We have done the math. I doubt that you actually have. In fact there were many plans submitted to the last commission that had more than 7 competitive districts in them. Those were conveniently ignored by the commission.

Further, in doing the math, you will see that min./maj. districts stack Dems in certain areas just like geography stacks Reps in certain areas, leaving large areas in between that provide enough voters for more than 10 competitive districts in the legislature.

Huntworth's article creates a fallacy that many gerrymanderers are happy to promote.

...correction. Huntwork.

For the sake of argument, representatives from uncompetitive gerrymandered districts have veiws that are in line with a much larger percentage of their constituency, providing a more accurate representation for their needs.


A more factionalized representation for our nation. Something rightly feared by the founding fathers.

As a long time Conservative in Arizona I have to say that I agree with you Greg, this process has been over run with politics.

However, I will go one step further. My biggest problem of all is that Pearce and Adams have been asleep at the wheel and only now how seen the urgency of what is going on. Befuddled with personal politics and grandstanding has left us wondering what would have been if we had other leaders at the helm.

We, representing the conservative base here in Arizona, should be discussing this. We have had our victories in plenty in AZ for some time now. I am unwilling to sit back and allow those who have won power within the GOP to advance personal agendas.

Source; Cap Times 2010 Guide to Arizona Citizen Government, Regulatory Boards & Commissions page 8: Appellate Court Appointments Commission...

Non-Lawyer members:
P. Crowell, Sierra Vista (Napolitano "D")
J. Strain, Sierra Vista (Napolitano RINO)
R. Gallo, Casa Grande (Napolitano "R")
D. Schade, Scottsdale (Napolitano "R")
S. Ballard, L.H.C. (Napolitano, "R")
J. Taylor (Brewer, party not identified)
D. Cole (Brewer, "R")
J. Leavitt (Brewer, "D")
C. Dobson (Brewer, "Independent")
C. Wallace, (Brewer, "D")

Napolitano appointed 1 Democrat and 4 "Republicans" (at least 1 is a RINO)
Brewer appointed 1 Republican and 3 Democrats and 1 Independent)

Now you figure out if this group is unbiased and objective... NOT!

The IRC is an absolute joke masquerading as an objective means of stacking the deck for Democrat candidates (and "moderate" Republicans).

Please look to the Random Musings Blog for a diligent analysis of the re-districting process: http://cpmazrandommusings.blogspot.com/2010/12/redistricting-update-latest-salvo.html#links

Looks like Pearce and Adams will win at least a partial victory: two Republican nominees have withdrawn. If the Commission names two non-Maricopa residents to replace them that eliminates the "no choice" complaint. That would leave just the Bender issue (which a court will resolve if the Commission continues to stick its head in the sand over his ineligibility).

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