Supreme Court denies redistricting challenges

The California Supreme Court today unanimously denied two pending petitions challengeing the validity of the state Senate and congressional redistricting maps created and certified by the Citizens Redistricting Commission.

The court also denied petitioners’ requests for an emergency stay of the certified maps. All seven justices participated in the court’s action.

The Citizens Redistricting Commission on Aug. 15 certified to the Secretary of State all four required statewide electoral maps, covering the 40 State Senate and 80 Assembly districts, California’s 53 congressional districts, and the 4 districts of the California State Board of Equalization. The petitions for writs of mandate filed in the Supreme Court challenged only the state Senate and congressional districts.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Allen Payton

    That’s unfortunate on the congressional districts lawsuit. I was at the Commission meeting, the day the Commission created the final East Bay congressional districts and gave input, and witnessed how their decisions on where to draw the lines were based on clearly false information.

    Commissioner Galambos Malloy from Oakland repeatedly, falsely stated they couldn’t follow COI (Community of Interest) testimony – given by over 300 people from the East Bay – to use the East Bay hills as the natural dividing line between districts, as it would affect the Monterey County Section 5 District.

    That was not true, and not only did a group of us provide the Commission two sets of maps demonstrating that they could use the East Bay hills as the dividing line without impacting not even Santa Clara County, much less Monterey County, but a staff member of their own hired consultants, Q2, presented them a map alternative showing the same thing.

    The Commission chose to ignore the public input – a requirement of the process – and instead created districts that: 1. split Antioch and Martinez while keeping the largest city in the East Bay, Oakland, whole; 2. splitting off San Ramon from the rest of the San Ramon Valley and put it in a separate congressional district; and 3. protected the three East Bay Democrat incumbents – Lee, Miller and Stark. Whether or not that was the intent, it was the result.

    I fault not only Gallambos Malloy for misleading the rest of the Commissioners, but also Commissioner Blanco who pushed to have Richmond included in the same congressional district as Central Contra Costa county connecting the two areas by San Pablo Dam and Alhambra Valley Roads, which makes no sense, clearly violating their own policy of geographic commonality.

    By the way, one of the plans we submitted – both in time before the Commission’s cut-off for public input, and both which I drew using the same software Q2 used to draw the statewide maps, called Maptitude – was based on their final draft maps of the East Bay CD’s and only affected five districts in Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties.

    Unfortunately, the lawsuit didn’t include that information and the Supremes thus denied the will of the people of the East Bay.

    So we’re stuck with the districts the flawed Redistricting Commission gave us.

  • Nuts:
    As a former member of the republican central committee and a candidate for congress,in lite of the situation,I see no way of winning for most of the republican candidates in 2012 and beyond. I’m confident, as WW2 GENERAL MARK CLARK responded to a German officer as he asked the U.S. General to surrender,Clarks response was NUTS’..!!! SO THE REPUBLICANS RESPONSE SHOULD BE NUTS’TO THE SUPREME COURT.

  • John W

    Hey, I don’t like the fact that San Ramon was drawn into the Stark district. But I’ll take this independent process any day over the corrupt, incumbent-protection system that previously existed. Too bad Contra Costa County didn’t have a similar process for supervisor districts. No way was the commission going to make all of us happy. It’s a tough job. They did it, and the court wisely and unanimously [emphasis on “unanimously”] recognized there were no legal grounds for it to micromanage the outcome. When this thing started, it was both Democratic and Republican party and elected officials who opposed it, especially including Congressional districting in the process. I’d love to see a more balanced mix of moderate Repubs and moderate Dems running the show in California. But Repubs do everything imaginable to stay out of the game.

  • Allen Payton

    John W – as for the process by the CC Board of Supervisors, I would also prefer an independent commission redrawing their lines. In fact, Supe Gioia predicted if they didn’t redraw the lines in a common sense way, that would happen.

    But, to be fair, at least they used the plan our Contra Costa Citizens Redistricting Task Force developed, which by far garnered the most support county-wide, as the basis for their final plan. Both Supes Gioia and Glover supported plans very similar to ours, but none of the three ladies on the Board would.

    So we have the gerrymandered plan that they ended up adopting. But, it’s close and better than the previous districts and the others some of the Supes proposed.

  • John W

    Allan Payton,

    Yes, I agree. The new supervisor districting is a definite improvement but could have been better, as you stated. In San Ramon, I was in the same district as Discovery Bay. At least that’s no longer the case, no thanks to the other three sups you referenced.

  • Allan Payton:
    Did you voice your concerns at the meeting, or they wouldn’t let you speak? If not you should have walked out of the meeting in protest, that would have got their attention. If the citizen’s can’t speak at these meeting why have them. As I have always said if you can debate them you can beat them. Quoted by myself Tom Benigno.