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Eye On Boise

If redistricting commission fails, job could go to high court

Idaho’s citizen redistricting commission appeared to move toward compromise last week, but after weeks of partisan impasse, it’s worth asking: What happens if the commission fails to agree by its September deadline? “My personal opinion is the Supreme Court would recognize the constitutional duty of the commission to do reapportionment, and I personally believe would kick it back to them, and tell them to reconvene again,” Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa said. Ten years ago, when the commission reached a plan that was challenged in court, the Supreme Court reconvened the commission to redraw it.

Other possibilities: The court could take over the job, or it could appoint a “special master” to work on the issues. But any failure by the bipartisan commission could buoy opponents who’d like legislators to draw new legislative and congressional lines. “I think either method has its strengths and weaknesses, but people have a short memory if they think the legislative process was cleaner,” Ysursa said.

Some lawmakers never have been happy with the commission system – especially now, when Republicans control more than 80 percent of the Legislature and all statewide elected offices but have only half the seats on the commission. You can read my full story here from Sunday's Spokesman-Review.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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