May 18, 2012

PLF continues the fight against the unconstitutional Redistricting Commission selection process

By PLF continues the fight against the unconstitutional Redistricting Commission selection process

PLF filed the next round of legal documents in Connerly v. California, et al. today.

First, some background. In 2008, California voters created the California Citizens Redistricting Commission. The Commission is made of 14 private citizens who are tasked with drawing California’s Congressional, Assembly, Senate, and Board of Equalization Electoral Districts.

The lawsuit challenges the race- and sex-based commissioner selection process.  Government Code § 8252 sets out the process for how the 14 commissions are selected. The process is fairly complicated, but the long and the short of it is that after a period of time where the Secretary of State accepts applications from California citizens, State Auditors winnow down the applicants to a pool of 60 qualified individuals. Then, pursuant to Code Section 8252(g), the first eight Commissioners are appointed by random selection from the qualified applicant pool. These eight appointees in turn select the final six Commissioners pursuant to a requirement that race, ethnicity, and sex be considered in the selection process.  This violates Article I, section 31 of the California Constitution (Proposition 209), which prohibits the use of race, ethnicity, and sex in public education, public employment, and public contracting.

On March 20, 2012, PLF filed a lawsuit on behalf of American Civil Rights Foundation and Ward Connerly against the State of California, the Citizens Redistricting Commission, and the State Auditor. The suit asks the court to prohibit the Defendants from using race, ethnicity, or sex in selecting any future Redistricting Commission members.

The Defendants filed a demurrer objecting to the suit and asking the court to dismiss it. Today PLF filed its opposition to that request. There will be a hearing on the Defendants demurrer next week. No matter what the court decides, PLF will continue to defend equality under the law for all people in this country. I’ll post more on this case as the lawsuit progresses.

What to read next