Colorado Supreme Court to hear oral arguments in state legislative district reapportionment case on 9 November

The Colorado Supreme Court has set a date (9 November 2011) to hear oral arguments in the case of eleven challenges to the constitutionality (filed predominantly by affected county governments) of the state legislative district maps filed by the Colorado Reapportionment Commission in early October for constitutional review by the Colorado Supreme Court (yes, these challenges… go to eleven).

(Hearings begin at 9AM in the Old Supreme Court courtroom, Colorado Capitol, 200 E. Colfax Avenue, Second Floor, Denver CO 80203)

UPDATE: Live audio streaming of the oral arguments also available online

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 Carrerathe 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.

The Colorado Latino Forum – the sole group that had filed a brief in support of the approved maps, prior to the challenges – also filed a reply brief in response to challenges of the maps.

The Colorado Reapportionment Commission legal counsel filed a somewhat lengthier reply brief in response to the eleven challenges as well.

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.

Additional references:

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.

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