Eleven Challenges to Colorado Reapportionment Commission state legislative district maps filed with Colorado Supreme Court
Unsurprisingly, the state legislative district maps filed by the Colorado Reapportionment Commission earlier this month for review of constitutionality by the Colorado Supreme Court have drawn a number of challenges based on constitutional shortcomings – as of press time, the challenges “go to eleven.”
Many of the challenges (from across the state) arose in response to the eleventh-hour introduction of an entirely new set of maps by the commission’s sole unaffiliated member (and chair) Mario Carrera – the maps that were, in the end, approved – after earlier maps had been subjected to multiple rounds of public comment and scrutiny (beginning with meetings in Denver from 31 May to 25 July, followed by meetings around the state throughout August, and a final commission meeting on 12 September.
- House Final Plan Maps & Reports
- Senate Final Plan Maps & Reports
- Maps by District (sets): (House District 1-20), (House District 21-40), (House District 41-60), (House District 61-65), (Senate District 1-35)
- Google Earth maps (requires Google Earth download): Final Plan House (download zip file), Final Plan Senate (download zip file)
Ironically, the Colorado Supreme Court must now review the approved maps – and challenges to the approved maps – which are largely the sole creation of Colorado Reapportionment Commission Chair Mario Carrera, appointed to the commission by Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Bender. The court will essentially be reviewing the work product of its own appointee – a potential conflict of interest that in other circumstances might warrant recusal, and which highlights the problematic involvement of the courts in deciding issues of policy and politics.
The eleven challenges to the commission’s maps were filed from around the state:
- Statement of Opposition/Las Animas County Board of County Commissioners
- Statement of Opposition/Garfield County Board of County Commissioners
- Statement of Opposition of Montezuma County Clerk and Recorder – Carol Tullis
- Statement of Opposition of Southwest Colorado Citizens for a Constitutional Map and Club 20
- Statement of Opposition of The Board of County Commissioners of Weld County, Colorado
- Statement of Opposition Town of Superior et al
- Statement of Opposition of Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners
- Statement of Opposition of Arapahoe County, Colorado
- Statement of Opposition of Elbert County Board of Commissioners, et al.
- Statement of Opposition of Douglas County Board of County Commissioners
- Statement of Opposition of Colorado Citizens for Fair Representation
In contrast, only a single group (the Colorado Latino Forum, a special interest group which may have been involved with creating the chairman’s maps) filed a short brief in support of the final product, immediately after the commission filed the maps with the Colorado Supreme Court for review).
Justice Takes a Holiday?
In any event, the Colorado Supreme Court will have its hands full in the coming month (or more – the statutory deadline for completing review of legislative district maps is 14 December) reviewing not only the state legislative district maps and the eleven (and possibly counting) challenges to the maps for compliance with federal and state constitutional requirements, but also dealing with the inevitable legal challenges to the eventual outcome of the Congressional Redistricting trial in Denver District Court (set to end with closing arguments on Hallowe’en morning, 31 October). Other court business must (by law) take a back seat to the resolution of these political issues. Further complicating matters, both cases will ultimately be decided by a court including a new member to be appointed to the bench later this week (replacing outgoing Justice Alex Martinez, resigning to take a “city job” as Denver Manager of Safety effective 31 October). Talk about a baptism of fire…
- State Courts Reapportionment page
- Additional information is also available on the Reapportionment Commission website.
- Constitutional Provisions Controlling Reapportionment/Redistricting (state website listing relevant legal language on Congressional redistricting & legislative reapportionment)
Clear The Bench Colorado will, with your support, continue to promote transparency and accountability in the Colorado judiciary, informing the public to increase awareness of the substantial public policy implications of an unrestrained activism and political agendas in the courts. We will continue to work to educate voters and provide information of relevance related to the judicial branch, and to provide useful and substantive evaluations of judicial performance.
Ultimately, though – it’s worth the effort.