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THE NOONER for April 1, 2013

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CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT RULING SHAKES UP STATE POLITICS

As Californians were closely watching the Supreme Court of the United States for last week's gay marriage arguments, nobody expected the landscape-changing ruling from the California Supreme Court in a rare Sunday night ruling.

Part of a unanimous ruling, the court held in Citizens for Fair Elections v. Bowen (S20130401) that the California Voting Rights Act approved by the Legislature in 2002 creates a higher standard for competitiveness that the California Citizens Redistricting Commission should have relied on to draw districts with as much inter-party parity as possible. The court reasoned that the Commission should have drawn districts much differently to foster the competitive elections voters were promised in Proposition 11. Citizens for Fair Elections only challenged state legislative districts, and the court's ruling seemingly only applies to Assembly and Senate districts, effective with the 2014 elections.

Redistricting has been a subject the court has rarely weighed in on, opting against intervening against the Commission maps in Vandermost v. Bowen in 2012. In that case, GOP activist Julie Vandermost argued that the Court should set-aside the State Senate redistricting plan pending the referendum that appeared on the November ballot. However, Citizens for Fair Elections relied on different legal arguments, winning the court over.

In response to the ruling, California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton initially offered an undeciperhable tirade that covered each of George Carlin's seven words. GOP chairman Jim Brulte would not comment, but was seen with a cheshire grin as he boarded a Southwest flight from Ontario to Sacramento this morning. 

Lawyers scrambled to decipher the court's rationale and determine whether the ruling could be appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States. Attorneys believe the subjugation of the concept of "communities of interest" and "compactness," factors that were mandated in Proposition 11, could run afoul of federal constitutional law. However, some court watchers believe that the high court would rather stay out of the issue as the court continues to back off of high scrutiny for redistricting methodology.

Following the ruling, Citizens for Fair Elections spokesman Robert White cheered the ruling. "For far too long, courts have suggested that packing groups of like-minded people into a district provides the best government," White said. "Instead, the old system handed the keys to the People's Capitol to special interest groups, where elections were won in primaries and a real dialog never occurred." The Fair Political Practices Commission is looking in to Citizens for Fair Elections, which doesn't disclose its donors.

"Our whole system of elections has just been shaken like a Southern California temblor," said GOP consultant Matt Rexroad. "While I'm sad that the very truly independent work of the Citizens Commission has been set aside, our candidates are now immediately competitive in another ten senate districts."  

"Our database already has the new districts, and we're happy to provide solutions to customers new and old," said Paul Mitchell of Political Data Inc. "I want to thank Temple Coffee for staying open all night to allow me to get the work done. It's time for a very long bike ride."

Looking ahead to 2014, the ruling provides many competitive races for state senate, as the court-drawn scheme provides an east-west district that balances the generally Democratic areas west of I-5 with the generally Republican areas east of I-5. "An f***ing zebra sitting on its ass," was how John Burton characterized the plan.

Some 2014 candidates were excited about the opportunity of reaching beyond the neighborhoods they call home. "I can't wait to demonstrate to the voters of Manteca the sartorial value of the classic seersucker suit," said Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco). "From Lake Arrowhead to Toluca Lake, guns a blazin'!" tweeted Tim Donnelly (R-Twin Peaks). 

 

**CLASSIFIEDS**

 

IMPORTANT: If you have absolutely no clue what the date is, you probably slept in to long, and may be perplexed by the above. Let me assure you that today is a day of fiction, including the entire story above. None of the individuals quoted above should be actually attributed to their quotes. And, I thank them for their sense of humor.

 

--adblock-- 

 

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