Gino DiCaro

Challenges to redistricting

By Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications

Capitol Update, Nov. 4, 2011 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Last week, the California Supreme Court rejected two legal challenges to the state's new Senate and congressional maps.  The two separate lawsuits were rejected by identical 7 to 0 votes. The court's decision ended the first hurdle to implementing boundary lines that were drawn this year, for the first time, by a 14-member citizen’s commission created by voter passage of Proposition 11 in 2008. 

More hurdles remain, however. The Republican-backed coalition, known as Fairness & Accountability in Redistricting, that failed at the state court is now asking the federal government to reject the lines as a dilution of Latino voting power. They have filed arguments with the U.S Department of Justice challenging the legality of the new boundary lines.  The federal government is required to monitor redistricting in four California counties – Yuba, Monterey, Kings and Merced – to ensure the preservation of minority voting power.  The coalition argues that redistricting lowered the number of Senate districts from six to five in which Latinos comprise 50 percent or more of the voting age population.

The Fairness & Accountability in Redistricting Coalition is also spearheading a referendum drive aimed at placing the new Senate maps before voters next year.

Republican officials have expressed concern that the new Senate districts favor Democrats and could give that party a two-thirds majority in the upper house, the margin needed to raise taxes or fees.

Capitol updates archive 989898989