If You Don't Like the Map, Impeach the Map-Maker

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 1 2011 1:56 PM

If You Don't Like the Map, Impeach the Map-Maker

So: Arizona. The state gained a new congressional seat after the 2010 Census. Republicans also kept control of the entire state legislature, and the governor's office -- Gov. Jan Brewer, who fell into the job when Janet Napolitano went to DHS, won re-election. But unlike in other states, Republicans didn't get to run the redistricting process. That job fell to a commission of two Democrats, two Republicans and an independent, who turned in a map reminiscent of the ones you see in Iowa -- carved up to maximize the number of competitive seats at the local and congressional level.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

That was an offense to Brewer. She wrote a letter on October 26 accusing the commission of "elevating 'competitiveness' above the other goals." Thus began a process in which the legislature could impeach and remove the members of the commission, and possibly get a new line-up that would draw a better map for partisans. Today, Republicans are on alert for Brewer to call a special session in which they could start the impeachments. The official argument: the governor "does not have to wait for a court's determination that someone broke the law before seeking their ouster."

Senate Majority Leader Andy Biggs, R-Gilbert, said what a judge considers "gross misconduct" is irrelevant to whether they can remove a commissioner.
"There's no case law on it, so it's defined by the Legislature," said Biggs, an attorney. "Gross misconduct is essentially what the Legislature says gross misconduct is."
Senate President Russell Pearce agreed that the Legislature is not bound by any specific legal definition.
"It's kind of like when one of the (U.S.) Supreme Court judges said they may not be able to define pornography, 'but I know it when I see it,' " Pearce said.
Advertisement

The charge in this case isn't pornography: It's trying to draw a competitive map. That's it. That's the impeachable offense.

UPDATE: A source tells me that members expect to be called up at 1 p.m. local time.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Sept. 30 2014 2:36 PM This Court Erred The Supreme Court has almost always sided with the wealthy, the privileged, and the powerful, a new book argues.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
  Life
Lexicon Valley
Sept. 30 2014 1:23 PM What Can Linguistics Tell Us About Writing Better? An Interview with Steven Pinker.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 6:44 PM Ebola Was Already Here How the United States contains deadly hemorrhagic fevers.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.