Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s (R) impeachment crusade against the state’s redistricting chair was struck down Thursday by the state Supreme Court. As the justices saw it, the governor needed an actual reason to remove the official, and didn’t come up with one.
And so yesterday, Brewer and her allies mulled starting the process all over again, this time trying to come up with some basic rationalization for their actions.
Senate Republicans are ready to try again to oust the chairwoman of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, saying they could stage a special session next week.
But Gov. Jan Brewer, who must initiate such a move, said late Friday that she’s still pondering what to do, although she indicated a need to move quickly.
“I’m keeping my options open,” she said in a conference call with reporters after she returned from a trip to Washington, D.C.
I probably brushed past this a little too quickly yesterday, but the governor’s legal team told the Arizona Supreme Court that Brewer had the authority to remove the independent commission’s chair from office, simply because the governor felt like it.
When the court’s acting chief justice pressed this point, and asked if Brewer could fire an independent commission’s chair because the chair wore a purple dress or had a certain haircut, the governor’s lawyer said yes, she could.
This is not a joke.
With this argument rejected by the state Supreme Court, Brewer’s new task is to consider a new impeachment drive, this time giving a coherent reason.
Just to quickly review for those just joining us, when it comes to post-Census redistricting, Arizona has an Independent Redistricting Commission, made up of two Democrats, two Republicans, and one registered Independent. The system was adopted by Arizona voters more than a decade ago, and was intended to take partisan agendas out of the redistricting process.
The tripartisan panel recently unveiled a draft proposal that would, as a practical matter, create four safe Republican seats, two safe Democratic seats, and create three competitive districts, all the while improving the voting influence of the state’s growing Latino population.
This did not sit well with Republicans, who were so outraged that Brewer and the GOP-dominated state Senate went after the commission’s chair. (Republicans also wanted to impeach the commission’s Democrats, but that petered out.)
And now, after being smacked down by the Arizona Supreme Court, they want to do it again.
In a year filled with examples of far-right overreach, this is egregious, even by Republican standards.