Jan Brewer BODY-SLAMMED by Arizona Supreme Court on Redistricting, Again

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Governor of Screeching Overreach, Jan Brewer

Man, this drama is getting moldier than a rerun of 21 Jump Street

This afternoon, the Arizona Supreme Court -- for the second time -- handed Governor Jan Brewer a big fat loss on her attempt to remove Colleen Mathis, chairwoman of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, the panel charged by the Arizona Constitution with rewriting Sand Land's political map.

See, after legal filings galore and oral arguments before the Supremes on November 17, the high court (for the first time) shot down Brewer's dictatorial attempt to quash the commission's independence

It declared Brewer had not demonstrated that Mathis had committed "gross misconduct" or was guilty of "neglect of duty." And it reinstated Mathis as the commission's unpaid, volunteer chairwoman. (You read that right, Mathis is weathering all this unearned abuse, free of charge.)

This, after Brewer had called a last-minute special session of the state Legislature on November 1, so that the state Senate, still under the iron heel of now ex-Senate President Russell Pearce, could rubber-stamp her booting of Mathis with its supermajority.

But the Supreme Court refused to kowtow to Empress Jan, and the GOPers, incensed, were left looking like empty-handed, power-mad goobers.

So, Brewer hit the court with several motions on November 21, including a whiny "motion to reconsider," which kvetched that the Supremes didn't have the authority to tell the Governor what to do, and that the court had "effectively paralyzed" the Governor and the Senate, while allowing Mathis and the AIRC to go about its work unhindered.

Even state House Speaker Andy Tobin tried to get into the act, filing a motion to intervene, and making some truly asinine arguments, such as: the Governor and the state Senate can do whatever they want, no matter how capricious.

Take the following bit of pettifoggery from Tobin's counsel as an example of same,

"At argument, the Court tested the Governor's position by posing the purple dress question. That is, can the Governor remove a member of the IRC because she wore a purple dress? Yet that question cannot be asked in isolation. The key question is whether this Court can review such a decision. The answer to the second question is no, regardless of the answer to the first question. As demonstrated above, the Constitution vests the power of review in the Senate and only the Senate. The Court's intervention completely disrespects and eviscerates the collective judgment constitutionally entrusted to two-thirds of duly elected Senators."

If such childish arguments seem doomed to laypersons like you and me, you've got to wonder what was going through the noggins of these highfalutin' legal beagles as they committed them to print and posterity.

In any case, the Supremes, as one would expect, were not moved by this verbal flatulence, and for the second time knocked Brewer to the mat so hard that whatever teeth she has left must be dangling in her cranium like loose piano keys.

The court writes:

"The Governor's November 1, 2011 letter constitutes her findings of grounds for the removal of Mathis. The Court's conclusion that the letter does not demonstrate "substantial neglect of duty, gross misconduct in office, or inability to discharge the duties of office" is based on the letter's substance, not its format. The letter does not, as a matter of law, identify conduct that provides a constitutional basis for removal."

The court also attacks unproven claims made against Mathis of open-meetings law violations, as well as the Governor's disapproval of the draft maps on the table.

"One ground identified in the Governor's letter is a failure to conduct the commission's business in meetings open to the public. The Constitution directs that "[w]here a quorum is present, the independent redistricting commission shall conduct business in meetings open to the public, with 48 or more hours public notice provided." Ariz. Const., Art. IV, Pt. 2, § 1(12). The statutory Open Meeting Law defines "meeting" in terms of a gathering of a quorum, A.R.S. § 38-431(4), and it directs that all meetings of public bodies shall be public meetings and that legal action of public bodies shall occur in public meetings. Id. § 38-431.01(A). 

"A failure to conduct the business of the commission in meetings open to the public must at least involve violations of these laws for it to constitute "substantial neglect of duty" or "gross misconduct." (We do not decide whether the constitutional provision preempts any statutory Open Meeting Law requirements, an issue that is being litigated in another forum.) There is, however, no allegation of any non-public meeting of a quorum of the commission in the Governor's October 26, 2011 letter or in the responses thereto. Nor does the Governor's November 1, 2011 letter find that a non-public meeting of a quorum of the commission occurred."

Funny enough, neither the Governor nor the Legislature provided the public with 48 hours advance notice of its special session. Though some might argue the Legislature is exempt from such constraints, it should still stick in the public's craw that the Governor and the Legislature were not interested in informing the public or doing the public's business under any sort if scrutiny.

Rather, they were interested in overriding the will of the people by thwarting the AIRC's work, and achieving this end before the public or the press had a chance to act.

As to Brewer's disapproval of the AIRC's proposed political lines, the court pointed out that it doesn't matter if Brewer likes the proposed maps or not. She's not a dictator, much as she might long to be.

"With regard to preparing maps, the commissioners perform legislative tasks in which they must "balance competing concerns" and "exercise discretion in choosing among potential adjustments to the grid map," Ariz. Minority Coalition for Fair Redistricting v. Arizona Indep. Redistricting Comm'n, 220 Ariz. 587, 597 ¶ 28, 208 P.3d 676, 686 (2009), and the commission's adoption of final maps is subject to judicial review for compliance with the Constitution's procedural and substantive requirements. Id. at 596 ¶ 24, 208 P.3d at 685. 

"The Governor's disagreement with commissioners over whether they have properly considered constitutional criteria for adjusting the grid map before they have completed final maps is not, as a matter of law, a constitutional basis for removal."

So why is the state GOP acting like a pack of kindergartners denied their nappy time?

Well, first and foremost, since Rs retain a supermajority in the Legislature, they want to return to a system of party-run gerrymandering. Ultimately, they'd like to see Prop 106, which made the AIRC part of the state's constitution, repealed. Or at least that's what they think they'd like to see. 

The other reason is even pettier: They object to the fact that Republican Congressmen "Baby Ben" Quayle and David Schweikert could share a primary under proposed new congressional lines.

As Steve Muratore of the Arizona Eagletarian blog has noted, Republicans have not been shy about this complaint, though the commission, in coming up with new maps, is obviously not supposed to sit around, wondering, "Gee, how will this hurt Ben Quayle and David Schweikert?"

The GOP is betting that all of this redistricting stuff makes people's brains hurt, so they won't care as Republicans run roughshod over the constitution, getting called to the carpet every other week by the Arizona Supreme Court.

This, my friends, is the essence of corruption wrought by overweening power. Just as former state Senate President Russell Pearce's campaign overreached in its attacks and dirty tricks aimed at challenger and ultimate victor Jerry Lewis, so too are the Governor and the Legislature overreaching in the AIRC affair.

Pearce's overreach helped lead to his downfall. The Governor and the Legislature are of a mind that they are above the people, and are not beholden to them. Thus they tempt their own comeuppance in the manner of their former generalissimo Pearce.

The average person may not know the ins and outs of redistricting. Hell, even the "experts" on the subject are often left scrambling for explanations. But the public does have a sense of what is just and what is unjust. And the shenanigans of the GOPers in the AIRC affair are about as obviously self-serving as you can get. 

All the Dems need do is exploit the truth like a weapon of asymmetrical warfare, and damn state Republicans with their own canards. This should be easy enough. Even for Arizona Ds.

Addendum: Arizona Republic reporter Ginger Rough posted a blog item today on a new survey from Public Policy Polling showing that Governor Brewer's approval ratings have taken a hit over her redistricting overreach. 

The poll reportedly shows a 49 percent disapproval rating for Brewer, with 43 percent disapproving of her ham-fisted decision to remove Mathis. Interestingly, 32 percent say they would support a recall of Brewer.

Here's an interesting tidbit from the poll Rough neglected to mention in her post:

"Joe Arpaio is more popular than Brewer, McCain, or Kyl but his poll numbers are on the decline too: 47% of voters express a favorable opinion of him to 45% with a negative one.  That's down a little bit from 49/42 when we polled about him in May and even more from 53/38 when we polled him last April."

Arpaio enters 2012 with almost as many people who despise him as approve of him, in the state at least. Would be nice to see that poll confined to Maricopa County electors, who actually can vote for or against the guy.

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73 comments
naturopath
naturopath

   I am impressed by the quality of information on this website. There are a lot of good resources here. I am sure I will visit this place again soon.

Markus West
Markus West

Watch out Arizona, real liberals are moving here and we will clean up this state of the G.O.P. The Good ol'e boy's will be saddling up  and riding into the sunset in years to come, how about that. You can see the fight we are pursuing.

PTCGAZ
PTCGAZ

Now maybe she will go bye bye!

Mistalee
Mistalee

The Supremes took one for the team.

Nobody wants to slam that body.

Nobody.

PTCGAZ
PTCGAZ

nope. I would be willing to bed even the old geezers with the thick coke bottle glasses with beer goggles installed  STILL wouldn't wanna go near that "body"

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

I feel like I am watching an older and more grizzled version of Andy Thomas with some of the nitwit arguments they come up with. 

Brewer and her brains don't try to follow the law.  They try to figure out how to distort the law to do what they want it to. 

Andrew could use the broad definition of bribery to charge a judge, but could not explain it.  Brewer can use a broad self definition of gross misconduct, but can't explain it either.  Maybe the AZ Bar will hold a hearing and disGED her.

Jason
Jason

Why am I not surprised by GED Jan's latest bone-headed move?

What the guv and her mentally sick Senate cohorts don't understand is that the IRC is a VOTER-APPROVED initiative. The Voter Protection Act precludes the Legislature (that would mean, in this case, the Senate) from meddling in voter-approved initiatives (that would be the IRC in this case.)

So, what that means is that GED Jan CANNOT ask the Legislature to help her destroy the Commission's independence, no matter how bad she and her GOP buddies (that would include useless Ben Quayle, David Schweikert, Paul Gosar, etc.) want the political maps drawn in their favor.

If memory serves me, weren't the original maps favoring GOP politicians to begin with? Why would you complain about something like that? 

shadeaux14
shadeaux14

Sorry Jason but she's like the mythical Hydra. The Supes may have cut off one head, but she will keep growing new ones until a recall destroys all the heads at once and burns the body.

Jason
Jason

What about impeachment? I think it's somewhere in Title 38 of the Arizona Revised Statutes.

Slicing off one head should be enough to weaken GED Jan and her mentally sick Senate cohorts. The Supremes have did us some good by stopping her dead in her tracks...

Guest
Guest

This woman is a nut and should be slapped down at every opportunity. Why doesn't New Times keep it out in the public media on a regular basis that not only did her husband, John L. Brewer,  practice medicine with a fake degree for 30 years until he was caught in 2001 (see May 2001 Arizona Republic paid archives) but also that one of the son's she and the fake physican created is in a prison for the criminally insane for kidnapping, torture and rape (see New Times own archives)? Not only is she intellectually and educationally not qualified but she and her entire family (except the son who passed from cancer - God rest his soul) are grave dangers to the public - Zonies and Americans at large alike. There is something to be said for not "picking" on families but it seems that if NASCAR boneheads feel obligated to boo the 1st Lady and every media outlet reports it for days and days that the criminal enterprises of her son and spouse are important for the public to know.

Marcy
Marcy

"In May 2001, the Arizona Naturopathic Physicians Board of Medical Examiners fired its executive director, John L. Brewer, D.C., following allegations that he shredded documents, copied exams, and misrepresented his credentials.  According to a report in the Arizona Republic, a board member had discovered that Brewer did not receive a naturopathic degree from a college in Los Angeles as he had claimed on his license application"

Naturopathic 'doctors' are one step below chiroquacks on the medicinal poppycock scale.

Guest
Guest

Naturos are trained in 4 year programs similar to Mds and Dos - Chiros don;t even come close to meetin gthose rewuirments. Naturos are required to complete pre-medical studies and learn not only conventional medicine such as cardiology and gastroenterology but also botanical medicine and acupuncture and nutrition which Mds and Dos know nothing about. A good naturo is focused 100% on preventive medicine unlike any other type of medical professional. Chiros are supposed to treat the spine and joints only but they have given themselves weekend seminars and proclaimed themselves equal to MDs - they lecture on endocronology and other topics their schools do not have classes in. No matter how low you think a Naturo is, nothing is lower than a Chiro how pretends he knows anythign other than how to rack and crack.

Is your comment intended to let the Brewer moral, genetic, and intellectual failings off the hook? What is your point? DO you really think a woman with a GED and a community college "degree" is fit to be CEO of a state the size of AZ? Does it change the fact that your Govs husband was a fake doc sticking his fingers into places they don't belong and her son kidnapped, raped and murdered women and got off on an insanity plea and no one is willing to talk about it? You must be one of the anti-intellectuals Zona is so proud of. Simpletons - it must be the heat that causes it.

Rather than bashing Naturos, you should be demanding your Az Rep and New Times bring her problems from and center and that they get national attention. A bunch of Zonies actually support Brewer/ Palin - how deeply stupid can you get?

Wanumba
Wanumba

No pony for you Jan.  Let us have the laws we voted for.

Ross
Ross

Has anyone reporting on the Schweikert/Quayle situation noted that there is no Constitutional requirement that they live in the district they represent?

Former Arizona Congressman Bob Stump lived outside the district he represented, for years.

Where most members of Congress actually live is in the Maryland and Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., to be closer to the lobbyists.

PTCGAZ
PTCGAZ

not to mention that for a long time Mr. McLAME didn't reside in AZ.

He and his family were living it up all over the place thanks to Charles Keating.

Car_del99
Car_del99

To brewer  " we the people " means Quayle and GozarThe " State " means.. the GOP" gross misconduct " means..not toeing the gop agendaI guess the " scorpion queen " got her ass kicked again..All she got going for her is SB1070 after that goes down the drain , she won't have anything left.. to go on...

PTCGAZ
PTCGAZ

lol SB1070 is already down the drain!

Eleanor Holguin
Eleanor Holguin

The corruption has run amok.......

Thanks for sharing it all with us so we can see "some" of the truth.  I am sure there is much more out there than we will ever know.

Great story.  Thanks.

shadeaux14
shadeaux14

When we git rid of Pieholio next year, it will be interesting to see how many shredders the MCSO burns up trying to get rid of the evidence before he has to leave office. This is why I think the MCSO should be placed into Federal Receivership ASAP to preserve the evidence of Pieholio's crimes.

YourproductsucksMom
YourproductsucksMom

What do you expect from this GED hack Brewer.

>Man, this drama is getting moldier than a rerun of 21 Jump Street. 

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

Is that an old picture of GED Jan?  To an old geezer without his glasses, she might even look slightly milfy.  Before you blast me, I meant really thick glasses.

Mistalee
Mistalee

Really thick glasses overlaid with beer goggles.

shadeaux14
shadeaux14

If you wear thick enough glasses to make her look good, you better wear an industrial strength neck brace so you can hold your head upright.

Vic
Vic

This the second rather good photo I have seen of her in a week.  I'm thinking she mayhave had a little nip and tuck since she's going to be the GOP VP choice, don't ya know.Our brainless puppet gov has gone national and a girl has to look her best!!

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

Photoshop?  Maybe the MCSO cold case posse can tell us if the pictures of GED Jan are genuine?

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Gerry, Gerry, Gerry. Now who is being too charitable? As a friend used to say, "I've walked over better stuff than her, looking for a place to masturbate".

Mistalee
Mistalee

If you ever happen to do so, don't look down as you're stepping over, it's sure to ruin the mood.

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

Tis the season to be charitable.  :-)  Of course my charity was far greater the the 35 extra watt you gave her. 

Follower_of_the_ONE
Follower_of_the_ONE

Well Guvner, just so you don't feel alone ... Wisconsin also has an asshole for a Gov. and he's being recalled.  432,000 signature seems like a lot and it may take a little while... it took 4 days to collect 105,000 of them... at that rate it could drag on for 2 weeks.  Don't worry, more people hate what you're done with the place, we're getting your ass out in 2 days....

DvCthr
DvCthr

This is living proof that a good education is vital to representation.

PTCGAZ
PTCGAZ

too bad AZ has the worst, or 2nd worst, or maybe third worst(depending on the year) public education system in the country.

Bnbk
Bnbk

It seems as if Brain-Fart Brewer may be getting just a bit nervous about trying to repeal prop.106.With the threat of a recall & the recent polls showing voter support for prop.106,she may be having second thoughts. Did I just say that ? I mean Chuckie boy may be having second thoughts.

Anon
Anon

Chuck Coughlin/High Ground/CCA or Chuck Ryan ADC prisons?

Tina
Tina

I immediately assumed Bnbk meant Coughlin, Brewer's "guiding light" from behind the curtain.  

Bnbk
Bnbk

I did mean Coughlin. Anon has a point, Chuck Ryan is hardly mentioned anymore but he too  has access to Brewer's ear.

DvCthr
DvCthr

Can politicians get a 'do over' too? The movie "Raising Arizona' was not fantazy; they had real life people to stereotype. Remember the Gov in that movie? She did not have a speaking role...I can see why.

PTCGAZ
PTCGAZ

lol I vaguely remember that. That movie is pretty good, and of course the best scene is during the trailer fight!

youcan'thandlethetruthloser
youcan'thandlethetruthloser

GED Jan should just hold herself in contempt for being such a disgrace to democracy. Her behavior isn't any different from that of such pleasant souls, Gaddafi and Hussein. Wake up Arizona and open your eyes to this EGOMANIACAL FOOL!!!

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

From Tobin's motion:  "...The Court's intervention completely disrespects and eviscerates the collective judgment constitutionally entrusted to two-thirds of duly elected Senators."Yes indeed, I believe we need to have at least two-thirds of our duly elected Senators that exercise good judgment.  Their actions do not exhibit any judgment at all.  Just a blind focus on their perceived mandate to keep Arizona red.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

 I find it very amusing that said document was presented as if it was authored by our governor. The very woman who wears her name tag around her neck so she can see who she is when the teleprompter is not working.

Imagine having a governor who could actually verbalize a cogent sentence of more than two whole words of multiple syllables.

Not until 2013. if then.

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