Court overturns removal of Arizona redistricting official
November 17th, 2011
11:15 PM ET
10 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. GI Joe

    Brewer is one of the many crooked republicans put into office this past year. She and her "kick-back" private prison owners should all go to jail.

    November 17, 2011 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  2. The Dude

    Corrupt GOP ruin you for not doing things the way they like.

    November 17, 2011 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  3. Al-NY,NY

    too bad Brewer. Your recall is next

    November 18, 2011 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  4. no1atall

    Another criminal move by right wing nutjobs thwarted. The law and the const*i*tution mean nothing to these criminals. Go OWS!!!!

    November 18, 2011 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  5. enuff

    Brewer should have consulted Tom DeLay on redistricting issues. She would have learned how to be discreet and sneaky about it to justify her ends.

    November 18, 2011 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  6. Bryan

    Round one in the re-districting battle.

    November 18, 2011 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  7. kenny

    In other words, she did her job and not what Republicans wanted her to do.

    November 18, 2011 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  8. jerri

    underhanded tactics still at play across the country,glad the official was reinstated.

    November 18, 2011 04:47 am at 4:47 am |
  9. BeverlyNC

    AZ officials and Governor Brewer have huge credibiliy issues. They have shown themselves to be corrupt, discriminatory, and have no respect for the law. AZ should wake up and throw all of these Republicans out of office in 2012.

    November 18, 2011 05:06 am at 5:06 am |
  10. Murph

    I'm a resident of Arizona and Jan Brewer is a joke. Arizona picked up another Congressional district based on the Census. What the bipartician group came up with was four safe districts for the Republicans, two safe districts for the Democrats and three toss up districts. My question to Brewer and the other whiny Repbublicans is what do they want? Would they only have been satisfied if the redistricting group made all nine districts safe for Republicans? As far as I'm concerned all nine districts should be toss ups. I believe the reason our country is so politically polarized is because of the extremism on both sides. Safe districts for either party allows them to run the most extreme candidates without concern of seeking moderation because they're sure to win, they're in a safe district. By the way, roughly 1/3 of registered Arizona voters are Republican, 1/3 are Democrats and 1/3 are Independents.

    November 18, 2011 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  11. Don

    The queen doesn't need to follow your rules.

    November 18, 2011 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  12. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Just because you don't like someone, you can't have them removed with out a just cause. Brewer is trying to bully the redistricting committee into what she wants for the good of the GOP. That seems to be a growing theme among GOP governors - be a bully and to hell with the consequences.

    November 18, 2011 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  13. Debbie from Arizona

    Good. Our Governor has overstepped her authority, once again, but this time she has been stopped. This woman is and continues to be an embarrassment to our state.

    November 18, 2011 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  14. Little Jimmy Truth

    Great job!!!

    November 18, 2011 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  15. Publius Novus

    Brewer is a misfit. When does her term expire?

    November 18, 2011 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  16. Mollybee

    Three of the most ridiculous people in politics today are Jan Brewer, Sheriff Joe Arpaio and "Machine Gun" Jesse Kelly, all from the State of Arizona. Let's hope the people can wrest control from these types in the next election.

    November 18, 2011 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  17. v_mag

    When have governors in this country ever been more embarrassing than now? Brewer, Perry, Nikki Whatshername, the Appalachian Trail guy, Kasich, and every southern governor. Each one trying to outdo the other for stupidity, political chicanery, racism, greed, and immorality. Is there just one honest person out there who can get elected?

    November 18, 2011 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  18. quinLee

    Have you no shame?

    November 18, 2011 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  19. 1byrd

    Trailer Trash Jan loses another. A trend. Blatant abuse of power for partisan gain is unacceptable. Gerrymandering is a violation of voter rights. THis commission was set up consciously to be independent so that new voter districts would be reasonable and just. The original commission's redraw of legislative boundaries was fair and balanced (ooops, sorry, Fox). Brewer openly favored lines that added at least one extra Republican seat. Sorry, Jan. Moe-ron.

    November 18, 2011 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  20. Spike

    Recall Brewer!

    November 18, 2011 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  21. realitybites

    This is nice to know. I'm surprised to hear that she didn't blame the liberal media, activist judges, obama, the communists, athiests, etc. Poor Jan looking down the barrel of decline and loss. 2012 can't come soon enough. The Arizona Spring will be rising and the shoots are already poking up.

    November 18, 2011 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  22. AB

    So I guess the state of Arizona has one of those "Activist Judges" Supreme Court thingy's, right Gov. Brewer?

    November 18, 2011 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  23. barbara451

    once again the 99% legally defeat the right wing's illegal contorted obfuscations

    November 18, 2011 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  24. Rudy NYC

    Arizona Republicans already hold an advantage over Democrats by virtue of the fact that 5 of the 9 of the districts traditionally vote Republican. There is one toss up district, which can fall either way. That leaves just 3 districts that traditionally vote Democratic.

    It is my understanding that the net result of the proposed redistricting is a new toss-up district. What could be more fair than that? Sounds to me like Gov. Brewer is complaining about the deck not being further stacked in favor of Republicans.

    November 18, 2011 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  25. Peg

    I was really glad to hear about this last night. I am so tired of all of the political maneuvering. Just let it happen the right way and run in a real district fair and square. Sometimes it seems like politicians who are trying to get elected by a democratic system, do not believe in democracy. I'm glad people are waking up to all of the problems we need to fix with regards to fair elections and a representative democracy in this country. Now we just need to make things happen.

    November 18, 2011 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
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