0

Supreme Court to rule Friday on redistricting suit

The California Supreme Court will issue its written opinion at 10 a.m. tomorrow on a challenge to last year’s state Senate redistricting, it announced minutes ago.

That challenge, filed in early December, asks the court to decide whether the old or new state Senate district map should be used for this year’s elections if a proposed referendum seeking to overturn that map qualifies for the ballot.

The court is grappling with what legal standard or test it should apply in determining whether a referendum is “likely to qualify” under a state constitution section dealing with when plaintiffs can seek relief from the judiciary. It also must decide whether it has the authority to hear such a petition before the referendum has qualified for the ballot, or even before anyone can deem it likely to qualify.

The parties made their oral arguments at a 75-minute hearing Jan. 10.

A Republican-backed group called Fairness and Accountability in Redistricting has gathered signatures to place the challenge referendum on the ballot, but those signatures won’t be tallied until late February – halfway through the nominating period for state Senate races.

The California Citizens Redistricting Commission contends the new map it drew should be used immediately because that’s was the will of the voters and because it meets federal standards. FAIR contends using the new map wouldn’t be fair to voters who are exercising their legal right to challenge it.

ADDITION FROM LISA V:

For folks who want to watch the count tally of the GOP’s ballot initiative that challenges the state Senate maps, click here.

Scroll down to the bottom of the page and you’ll see a number in red. That’s how many valid signatures have been counted so far. They need to reach 504,760 to make it onto the November ballot.

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.