I'm continuing my series on media inaccuracy and there is no better example than today's New York Times editorial criticizing Governor Brewer. Frankly, I can't blame the NYT; the editorial simply restates points that have been botched by the local media.
The editorial mischaracterizes the Courts ruling, ignores Brewer's reasons for removing Mathis and claims that redistricting prior to 2000 was more gerrymandered than it is now. All of these points are simply false. However, all of them have been made by local media in the last few weeks. Here's the editorial.
The Arizona Supreme Court has dealt a stinging defeat to Gov. Jan Brewer’s attempt to favor Republican lawmakers by derailing the state’s independent redistricting commission. The court ordered the reinstatement of the commission’s chairwoman, Colleen Mathis, finding no grounds for the charge of “gross misconduct” leveled by Governor Brewer when she engineered Ms. Mathis’s removal in a party-line State Senate vote this month.
The court decision was a ringing defense of state voters, who approved creation of the independent commission in 2000 after decades of gerrymandering. Governor Brewer’s real agenda was transparent as she tried to remove the commission’s two Democratic members as well, but fell short in the Senate vote.
Governor Brewer contends that the work of the five-member commission, which includes two Republicans, has been biased in favor of Democrats. The court defended the job being done by Ms. Mathis, a politically independent civic volunteer.
The brazenness of Ms. Brewer’s overreach was clear in the court hearing. Her lawyer contended that the governor, not the courts, was the sole arbiter for removing commission members, and under any grounds she pleased — even disapproval of the chairwoman’s dress and haircut, if it came to that.
The governor risks further embarrassment if she plows ahead with new challenges to the commission’s work, as she is said to be considering. She should accept the court ruling so the commission can do its work and draw maps to favor the people more than the politicians.