It’s hard to think of Republican power-grabs without picturing the state of Arizona and the coup led by nativist state Sen. Russell Pearce. But this latest move puts to shame even his most blatant partisanship to date.
Unsatisfied that the independent redistricting commissioner rejected the heavily gerrymandered GOP redistricting map, Pearce led a movement, alongside Republican governor Jan Brewer to have the independent commissioner impeached. And they may have succeeded.
Like so many of our political narratives these days, this is the stuff of soap operas. Unfortunately though, the stakes are so much higher.
Eleven years ago Arizonans, in a ballot measure, took the power of redistricting away from the legislature and gave it to an independent commission. The panel is required by law to be bi-partisan: it contains two Democrats, two Republicans and one independent. The idea was to avoid the outright monkey-business currently afoot in the state.
The law also provides that the commissioners can be impeached only for a serious neglect of duty, so it will be interesting to see Republicans argue how a proposal that keeps so many GOP seats safe amounts to serious neglect. The commissioners have threatened to sue Brewer should impeachment move forward, so it looks like we’ll have yet another lawsuit coming from the Republicans in Arizona.
At this point Arizonans must be longing for the days when their legislators actually cared about governing rather than consolidating power.
Photo from miheco via flickr.