Court overturns removal of Arizona redistricting official
November 17th, 2011
11:15 PM ET
2 years ago

Court overturns removal of Arizona redistricting official

(CNN) – The controversial removal of an Arizona state official charged with redrawing congressional districts was overturned Thursday by the state's Supreme Court.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, had sought to remove Colleen Mathis from her post as chair of Arizona's Independent Redistricting Commission, citing a “substantial neglect of duty, gross misconduct in office, or inability to discharge the duties of office.”

In a statement, Brewer called Thursday's decision "regrettable."

“With its reinstatement of the IRC Chairwoman, the Supreme Court has averted its eyes from the Commission’s misdeeds," Brewer said. "The Chairwoman’s actions to meet in secret, arrange critical votes in advance of meetings and twist the words and spirit of the Constitution have been forgiven – if not endorsed outright."

The Arizona Supreme Court determined in a ruling issued Thursday that claims against Mathis were unsubstantiated, and reinstated her to the redistricting board. The court said a fuller opinion on the matter would be forthcoming.

Brewer's decision to remove Mathis from the post was seen as a highly political move in Arizona. It came after Mathis' commission redrew congressional districts that Republicans claimed unfairly favored Democrats.

In a letter dated November 1, Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett wrote Mathis alerting her of her removal.

Bennett wrote Mathis had failed to "apply the Arizona Constitution's redistricting provisions in an honest, independent and impartial fashion, and [had failed] to uphold public confidence in the integrity of the redistricting process."

–CNN's Justin Lear contributed to this report.


Filed under: Arizona • Jan Brewer
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Peg

    There was no real proof that Mathis behaved inappropriately in heading the independent redistricting commission. That is why the court reinstated her. It was simply not appropriate for the republican Governor and 2/3 majority held Republican State Legislature to remove her without any proof or any hearing just because they did not like the new lines and had concerns. Suspicion and rumors were not enough. They claimed she violated a open meeting policy and then they themselves violated that same policy when meeting to decide to dismiss her. Political hypocrisy is getting so tiresome. It was not even the final map, just a preliminary one, and it was still subject to review. If they have any legitimate concerns about a final map, that could be handled by the court. This seemed analogous to throwing a tantrum. The whole point of the independent commission in the first place was to get rid of this political influence. That is why the courts are a more appropriate course of action if any issues arise.

    November 18, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  2. Peg

    I was so glad to hear about this. There was no real proof that Mathis behaved inappropriately in heading the independent redistricting commission. That is why the court reinstated her. It was simply not appropriate for the republican Governor and 2/3 majority held Republican State Legislature to remove her without any proof or any hearing just because they did not like the new lines and had some concerns about intent. Suspicion and rumors were not enough. They claimed she violated a open meeting policy and then they themselves violated that same policy when meeting to decide to dismiss her. Political hypocrisy is getting so tiresome. It was not even the final map, just a preliminary one, and it was still subject to review. If they have any legitimate concerns about a final map, that could be handled by the court. This seemed analogous to throwing a tantrum. The whole point of the independent commission in the first place was to get rid of this political influence. That is why the courts are a more appropriate course of action if any issues arise unless there is obvious gross misconduct.

    November 18, 2011 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
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