Votelaw, Edward Still's blog on law and politics: December 2003 Archives

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December 30, 2003

Do it yourself ads

The Andy Hardy films aren't shown on TV much these days. One of the high points of the movie would be when Andy (played by Mickey Rooney) would say something like, "We can raise the money. Let's put on a show in the barn."

Nowadays, Andy would suggest they start a website, of course.

MoveOn.org has started something like the talent show in the barn. It asked its members and the whole world to submit 30-second ads against the re-election of GW Bush. Now you can vote on the talent at Bush in 30 Seconds and read about the whole thing in Wired News: Bush-Bashing Ads Move Online:

Frustrated by political ads? Then make one yourself. That's what MoveOn.org, a liberal advocacy group, invited its supporters to do last October. Since then, more than 1,000 wannabe political consultants and commercial directors have yanked the lens covers off their camcorders in an effort to unseat President Bush.

The results are now posted at MoveOn.org's Bush in 30 Seconds website. Viewers who register with the MoveOn site can cast their votes online to select 15 finalists from the 1,019 entries. MoveOn will broadcast the winner, to be chosen by a celebrity jury, in late January.

The rules were simple: Make a 30-second ad in opposition to George W. Bush and his policies. As you'd expect, the resultant videos are distinct from typical political ads, which generally are built on heavy polling and market research.

"Political ads are about as dull as can be -- except when they are mean and aggressive," said Eli Pariser, MoveOn.org's 22-year-old international campaigns director. "Either you have the candidate wearing a flannel shirt walking around in a barnyard talking about how he understands regular people, or you have the Willie Horton-style character-assassination ads, which people do pay attention to but which are misleading."

According to Pariser, the films at Bush in 30 Seconds represent a new form of political expression -- they are "funny and poignant and hopeful" and "show up the stereotype of the angry left."

Iowa model won't work in the South

Laughlin McDonald has an op-ed in today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution examining how the Iowa system of redistricting will not work in Georgia and other states with a history of racial polarization in voting:

The Iowa model for redistricting, touted by columnist Jay Bookman as an ideal national standard ("To reclaim power, voters must crusade," Dec. 22) may work fine in Iowa, but it would be a major setback for racial minorities in Georgia.

Under Iowa law, nonpartisan map drawers are prohibited from using "previous election results" or "demographic information, other than population head counts." That means they must ignore race and evidence of racial polarization in voting.

Race blind redistricting may work in Iowa because there are few minorities in the state. Only 2 percent of the population is African-American. Only 0.3 percent is American Indian, and less than 3 percent is Hispanic.

In Iowa, race doesn't really matter in redistricting. No matter how the lines are drawn, all of the districts will be majority white. But that is not the case in Georgia. Race-blind redistricting would inevitably reduce the number of majority black districts, a result which could hardly be characterized as "simple and elegant" or in the best interests of minority voters.

The Iowa model diminishes the importance of partisanship, but it would do the same thing for racial fairness. Even Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who is no friend of majority minority districts, has said that it would be "irresponsible" for a state to ignore the Voting Rights Act in performing redistricting.

Special panel to hear North Carolina redistricting case

AP reports:

A Franklin County judge ruled Monday that a new three-judge panel created by the General Assembly to hear legal challenges of legislative district lines is constitutional.

The ruling by Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood means the a three-judge panel in Wake County, appointed by state Supreme Court Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake Jr., will decide whether new maps approved in November are constitutional.

The ruling is the latest in the legal wrangling over state House and Senate districts that stretches back to 2001, when a group of Republican legislators successfully sued to block new district maps.

Hobgood upheld major portions of the jurisdiction provisions in the 2003 redistricting bill approved my lawmakers. He did throw out one part of the three-judge panel law, a portion which automatically appointed Wake County's chief resident Superior Court judge to the panel.

December 27, 2003

Another Idaho redistricting suit

The The Idaho Statesman reports:

The state of Idaho had remarkably little to say about the latest lawsuit over the way legislative districts were drawn after the 2000 census.

In so many words, the attorney general´s office told the Idaho Supreme Court that everyone involved has heard it all before.

Each of the four points made in the suit by a coalition of commissioners in five Idaho counties, three current state lawmakers, three ex-lawmakers and a former gubernatorial candidate have been made already, Assistant Chief Deputy Attorney General Thorpe Orton wrote this week.

The plan -- called "L97" in redistricting circles -- "was the subject of 11 separate challenges," Orton wrote, "all of which were denied."

Orton also reminded the justices that there is little time to make changes: The counties have to establish precincts for the 2004 election by Jan. 15, and the last day for declaring candidacy is March 19.

Colorado may vote on independent redistricting commission

The Rocky Mountain News reports:

Colorado Common Cause and the League of Women Voters on Tuesday laid the groundwork for taking congressional redistricting out of the hands of state lawmakers.

Disgusted with the bitter fighting that erupted both in the Capitol and in the courts this year, the two groups filed papers for a ballot initiative in 2004 asking for a seven-member commission to take over the redistricting chore.

If they get the required 67,829 voters' signatures on petitions, and if voters approve, the commission would go to work after the next census is completed in 2010.

Texas redistricting suit under submission

Charles Kuffner at Political State report has done a great job reporting on the Texas redistricting trial while I have been tied up. See his reports:

Redistricting lawsuit to begin

Democrats release GOP redistricting memos

Redistricting lawsuit update

Switching sides

Still more from the plaintiffs

Double blow for Democrats

Up to the judges now

Arizona redistricting trial awaits ruling

The Arizona Capitol Times carries this short article on the case I have been in for the past 5 weeks. It quotes my co-counsel Dave Braun.

Dave also had a letter in Friday's Arizona Republic contradicting an earlier statement by Congressman Ed Pastor. Here is an excerpt:

Congressman Ed Pastor is wrong.

In Sunday's Republic he is quoted claiming that four of the eight new Arizona congressional districts are politically competitive.

Yet in the current redistricting trial, the commission charged with creating the districts actually admitted that only one of the eight is competitive. Six of the eight were given political party registration advantages of 17 percent or more. That includes three districts that were granted extraordinary registration edges of 23 percent, 24 percent and even 25 percent!

Section 527 suit dismissed

On Christmas Eve, the 11th Circuit dropped a lump of coal into the Mobile Republican Assembly's stocking by reversing its win in a suit against the requirements of Section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code. The opinion is here. The MRA, other Republican organizations, and several individual contributors had sued to invalidate the portions of sec. 527(j) added in 2000 which require 527 organizations to "the name, address and occupation of each contributor who gives more than $200 in the aggregate, as well as the name and address of each recipient of more than $500 in aggregate expenditures." If the organization does not make the disclosures, it is subject to the highest corporate tax on its income.

While the district court had held that the imposition of the tax was a penalty not subject to the Anti-Injunction Act and had enjoined it, the circuit court held that the Anti-Injunction Act applied and remanded the case for dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

December 22, 2003

Texas trial nears end

Gerry Hebert informs me that the final arguments in the great Texas redistricting case will be held tomorrow. ["Put a cake in the oven, Maude, the girls and boys will home for Christmas."] Gerry also sent me this
copy of his clients' brief.

December 20, 2003

11th Circuit breathes new life into felon voting case

Yesterday the Eleventh Circuit reversed the dismissal of case attacking the Florida constitutional provision disfranchising felons. Johnson v Governor of Florida.

The plaintiffs sued on three theories -- that the provision violated the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause, violated the Voting Rights Act, and constituted a poll tax. The district court had granted summary judgment for the State. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the poll tax ruling, but reversed on the other two theories. The court held that there were facts in dispute on each of the two claims.

(Disclosure: I was one of the counsel for the plaintiffs when the case was filed, but withdrew when I left the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.)

On the Equal Protection claim, the court discussed both the 1868 and 1968 Florida Constitutions in light of Hunter v. Underwood and other cases. (I tried Hunter and argued it in the Supreme Court.)

Accordingly, because the Plaintiffs’ showing of racial animus in the 1868 provision creates a genuine issue of material fact as to whether it was adopted with a discriminatory purpose, and because on this record the Defendants have not met their burden of showing that this provision was reenacted in 1968 with an independent, non-discrim inatory purpose, summary judgment was improperly granted. We therefore reverse and remand to the district court for further proceedings on the equal protection claim.

Footnote 19: On remand, the parties shall be given the opportunity to engage in additional discovery to address any other evidence pertaining to the motivations behind the passage of the felon disenfranchisement provision in 1868 and 1968. An assessment of the drafters’ purposes would, among other things, look to the historical context in which the provision was considered, the discussions held at that time, and the changes effectuated. See Arlington Heights, 429 U.S. at 266-67. Eliminating only one part of an odious provision while maintaining other parts that continue to have racially discriminatory effects, for example, might perpetuate rather than eliminate the taint. Cf. Hunter, 471 U.S. at 233 (narrowing changes by the courts to Alabama’s criminal disenfranchisement law did not cure the equal protection violation).

The court also held that the plaintiffs' evidence on the Voting Rights Act claim could convince a fact-finder that "demonstrates intentional racial discrimination behind Florida’s felon disenfranchisement as well as a nexus between disenfranchisement and racial bias in other areas, such as the crim inal justice system, in v iolation of the Voting Rights Act."

Judge Kravitch dissented.

Arizona trial has ended

AP has a short story on the conclusion of the Arizona reidstricting trial. Here are some excerpts:

A trial on Arizona's new congressional and legislative districts ended with challengers arguing that a state commission gave short shrift to a voter mandate and the commission saying the charges were hollow. Judge Kenneth Fields, who presided over the non-jury trial in Maricopa County Superior Court, heard closing arguments Thursday.

Both maps generally favor Republicans, and separate suits filed by Democrats on the congressional and legislative maps contend that the commission did not create enough competitive districts.

The challengers want Fields to order the five-member commission to change the maps it drew for use in 2004-2010 elections.

The commission was created as a result of a 2000 state constitutional amendment approved by voters to take redistricting out of the hands of legislators. The five members include two Democrats, two Republicans and one independent.

The amendment told the commission to draw equal-population districts and take into account goals that included communities of interest, compactness and competitiveness -- whether individual districts could realistically be won by both major parties' candidates.

The core of the main challenges to each map is that the commission failed to give a high enough priority to the constitutionally set goal of creating competitive districts -- not considering that goal until it was too late in the process and then not accepting reasonable suggestions that would have improved the maps by creating additional competitive districts.

"It was plainly dead on arrival," challengers attorney Paul Eckstein said of one proposal. "The promise of Proposition 106 was to create competitive districts and that was a promise that the IRC failed to keep."

The commission contends that it did try to create competitive districts and reviewed proposals from its own members and others but that its ability to do so was constrained, partly because the constitutional amendment put other goals ahead of creating competitive districts.

Also, the need to create districts dominated by minorities who tend to be Democrats and the fact that Republicans outnumber Democrats in Arizona combined to leave too few other Democrats to create many competitive districts, the commission contends.

PS -- Our briefs are due on the 24th, but I will have more time for blogging now that the trial is over.

Money, like water, will find a way

Depending on your view of the BCRA, the New York Times story, Special Interests Unfazed by New Campaign Limits, will either demonstrate that the law is regreatably ineffective or thankfully ineffective -- or perhaps doing what it was supposed to.

The [Club for Growth] is at the forefront of efforts to find a way around rules devised to spare voters a deluge of advertisements, many of them anonymous, generated by unlimited special-interest spending. Other groups say they are using different techniques to adjust to the ban on advertisements bought with soft money 30 days before a primary season.

The efforts underscore the difficulty in trying to limit the influence of special interests, even with the largest overhaul in campaign financing in 30 years.

The new law tries to limit those groups, ushering in a complicated basket of restrictions 30 days before a primary or caucus, beginning in Iowa and moving state by state through the primaries. The restrictions take effect nationwide 60 days before the general election.

In general, organizations in the protected periods may not run broadcast or cable advertising that mentions or depicts candidates if the commercials are financed by unlimited and unregulated "soft money" from corporations or unions. Groups using regulated "hard money" contributions can run advertising without restriction. Parties, particularly, have been curtailed, because they can no longer collect soft money at all.

Because the limits have yet to be tested, it is unclear exactly how they will affect the election, though spots that have already run have drawn complaints.

Special interests accounted for 15 percent, or $1.1 million, of the costs of presidential election advertisements on broadcast television through Dec. 7, according to the University of Wisconsin Advertising Project, a group that tracks such spending. The figures do not include commercials on cable.

While supporters are convinced that the law will work, many campaign strategists and election lawyers say that the ban will not keep special interest organizations off the air and that it may, in fact, make those groups more influential than before, because some can collect soft money while the parties cannot.

Similar efforts by other groups are discussed, as well.

December 12, 2003

And the winner is ...

In my contest on when the Supreme Court would decide the McConnell v FEC case, the winner is Richard Winger. He predicted 11 December and the Court decided the case on 9 December. Congratulations, Richard.

December 10, 2003

Supremes uphold most of BCRA

he Supreme Court has upheld most of the provisions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. The 298-page opinion is here -- the syllabus alone is 19 pages.

The Washington Post and New York Times have short articles on their websites.

One provision that was struck down was the ban on contributions by minors. ACLJ's press release on the decision is here.

Texas trial -- on or off, one week or till Easter

The Houston Chronicle reports on two questions about when and how long the Texas redistricting trial will be.

Democratic and minority plaintiffs said Tuesday they will ask a federal court to delay Thursday's scheduled start of a congressional redistricting trial if the U.S. Justice Department has not ruled on the legality of new Texas district maps by then.

The redistricting plan passed by Republican lawmakers in October is subject to a legal review by the Justice Department for compliance with the federal Voting Rights Act.

The department has until Dec. 22 to complete its review.

...

Lawyers for both sides said the trial will take about seven days, predicting a finish around Dec. 19.

[Judge John] Ward asked the lawyers to substantially reduce their list of witnesses. The lawyers gave the judges a list of 83 witnesses they plan to call at trial.

"If you called all of them on your will-call list, maybe we'd be out of here by Easter," Ward said.

Thanks to Jim Dedman for the link.

December 8, 2003

Two for one sale

Campaign Advantage is having a 2-for-1 sale on its book, "Winning Campaigns Online."

From now until December 25th, if you order a copy online at http://www.campaignadvantage.com/book.html , we will send a free second copy to the same address that you can give as a gift this holiday season. We also offer generous educational, political, and non-profit group discounts. Call 301-263-9302 for more information.

I found the book quite useful and think you will too.

Virginia redistricting appeal brief

The Commonwealth of Virginia has filed its brief in the 4th Circuit in the Hall v Virginia appeal. The issues on appeal are:

1. Did the district court correctly hold that pursuant to Thornburg v. Gingles, 478 U.S. 30 (1986), plaintiffs bringing an action under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1973, must show that a minority racial group could constitute a majority in a potential district?

2. Did the district court correctly hold that plaintiffs who reside outside the district they challenge have no standing to bring an action under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1973?

Thanks to Gerry Hebert for sending the brief to me.

Georgia redistricting

Bryan Tyson, Director of Policy and Research for the Georgia House Republican Caucus, emailed me:

Thought you might be interested in knowing that Georgia also has two redistricting-related cases pending at the moment. The remand of the Ashcroft case from the USSC regarding preclearance is continuing, and the DC Court is having a scheduling conference later this week to determine timing on reopening discovery, etc. There is also an equal protection challenge based on deviation and partisan gerrymandering that hasn't gotten much press, but survived multiple motions to dismiss by the state and is having oral arguments on summary judgment motions today. Most of the filings are posted on http://www.thinkmajority.com/reapportionment/litigation/larios.v.perdue.shtml Rest of the summary judgment proceeding filings should be posted soon.

Thanks for the link.

December 7, 2003

Virginia AG Kilgore defends his (in)actions

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that Virginia Attorney General Jerry Kilgore is defending his office:

Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore defended his office's handling of an eavesdropping scandal yesterday as new questions arose on what he knew and when he knew it.

He said no one in his office except his chief administrator, Anne Petera, who is not a lawyer, knew about the eavesdropping by Edmund A. Matricardi III, the executive director of the Republican Party of Virginia, on March 22 and 25, 2002.

"It was deliberate, I didn't want anybody to know," Kilgore said. "I don't think anybody knew there had been real crimes committed."

Let me get this straight: Kilgore's defense (?) is he knew about Matricardi's lawbreaking and still allowed his staff to meet with the guy to discuss the same thing the eavesdropping had been about. Wow, I'm impressed.

Analysis of the Texas Redistricting Trial

The Dallas Morning News has an analysis of the Texas redistricting trial set for later this week.

As legal animals go, the congressional redistricting trial set to begin this week is big and lumbering – but poised to burst across the political landscape with blurring speed.

But swiftness shouldn't be mistaken for insignificance: The Texas remap case has drawn the attention – and the legal horsepower – of the national Democratic and Republican parties alike.

With deadlines looming next month for candidates to get on the March 9 primary ballot, the case has shown just how fast complex federal litigation can move. The lawyers say they can plow through a numbingly complicated trial in about a week, at most.

Ah, for the good old days of a week-long trial.

NRA-TV?

AP reports,

Hoping to spend as much as it wants on next year's elections, the National Rifle Association is looking to buy a television or radio station and declare that it should be treated as a news organization, exempt from spending limits in the campaign finance law.

"We're looking at bringing a court case that we're as legitimate a media outlet as Disney or Viacom or Time-Warner," NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said.

"Why should they have an exclusive right to relay information to the public, and why should not NRA be considered as legitimate a news source as they are? That's never been explored legally," he said in an interview.

Don't they get enough good coverage from Fox News Channel?

December 6, 2003

Redistricting cases -- now?

Yes, Virginia, there is redistricting litigation still going on in December 2003. See the entries below relating to Texas, New York, Massachusetts, Colorado, Rhode Island, and North Carolina.

My own litigation against the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission is grinding slowly along. We don't expect the Commission to complete its evidence till the end of this next week. (The Commission has identified more than 5,000 exhibits and appears to want its principal witness to mention every single one of them.)

Despite the length of the trial, its has been a pleasant experience -- the lawyers get along well, the judge treats us with humor and understanding as we fumble with our computers, equipment, and all the electronic exhibits, and the weather has been great in Phoenix.

If the local press gives any coveage to the case, I will report on it.

Va. GOP chief met with AG's office after his eavesdropping revealed

The Charlottesville (VA) Daily Progress has two articles (
here and here) detailing the inconsistencies in the Virginia Attorney General's account of his office's involvement with Edmund A. Matricardi III, executive director of the Republican Party of Virginia, around the time Matricardi eavesdropped on two Democratic Party strategy sessions.

Democrats whose conference calls on redistricting were overheard and recorded by Republicans last year said Friday that a newly disclosed meeting requires answers from Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore.

The meeting, which included chief eavesdropper Edmund A. Matricardi III and four members of Kilgore’s staff, took place in then-House Speaker S. Vance Wilkins Jr.’s office and involved GOP redistricting strategy and public relations, participants said.

General Assembly Democrats said the fact that Kilgore’s attorneys met with the eavesdropping suspect three days after Matricardi had notified the attorney general’s office of his involvement in the crime points to inconsistencies in officials’ statements and raises serious questions about credibility.

Montana suit over redistricting

AP reports,

The Legislature acted properly in passing a law giving itself authority to assign midterm senators to new legislative districts and a lawsuit challenging that action should be thrown out, Secretary of State Bob Brown urged a judge Thursday.

Nothing in the Montana Constitution prohibits lawmakers from assuming the job of determining which of the new districts will be represented by the 25 senators not up for election next year, he said in document filed in District Court in Helena.

The law also fulfills the Legislature’s responsibility to guard against abuses of the election process by eliminating the potential for the assignment of senators to be done for political gain by one party or the other, the Republican said.

Brown’s arguments represent the state’s response to a suit by three Democratic lawmakers affected by the Legislature’s decision on assigning districts.

Colorado GOP asks federal court to overrule Colorado Supreme Court

The Denver Post reports,

Republicans asked a federal court Thursday to block a Colorado Supreme Court ruling on congressional boundaries.

The challenge came three days after the state's highest court ruled 5-2 that a GOP plan to draw new lines for Colorado's seven congressional districts was unconstitutional.

Attorney Richard Westfall said Monday's Supreme Court decision was wrong, and he wants the federal court to determine if it violates the U.S. Constitution.

"The state Supreme Court has interpreted the state constitution, as is its right," said Westfall, on behalf of the Republican-controlled legislature. "It's now up to the federal court to determine if that interpretation is constitutional under federal law."

Democrats immediately criticized the Republican action as a waste of time and taxpayer dollars. The case is believed to have cost close to $1 million.

Texas re-redistricting suit this week

UPI has an analysis of the major points of the Texas redistricting case to be heard this week in federal court:

A three-judge federal panel will hear arguments next week at Austin in a lawsuit filed by Democrats and civil rights groups that will determine the fate of the Republicans' plan to redraw Texas' congressional districts.

After two dramatic Democrat walkouts that temporarily blocked legislative action this year, the scene is expected to be less volatile in the courtroom but many of the plaintiff's complaints about the Republican plan will be much the same.

The Democrats' major charge will be that the plan discriminates against blacks and Hispanics, diluting minority voting strength, but Republicans will argue that the evidence doesn't support that and their designs were only political, not racial.

"Texans will now get their opportunity to elect a congressional delegation that is reflective of their views, with a majority that will work with our president, not against him," said Republican Gov. Rick Perry in October when a final agreement was reached.

Republicans are hoping the new districts will produce up to seven additional Republican members from Texas in next year's election. Rep. Martin Frost and six other Democrats may be casualties of the partisan political war but some of them are running again anyway.

Massachusetts redistricting case final arguments

AP reports that the final arguments in the Massachusetts legislative redistricting case will be Friday.

December 1, 2003

New York redistricting trial

The New York Times reports,

Senate District 34 in the Bronx has a notoriously odd shape, likened to that of a squashed doughnut. But is its figure unconstitutional, the result of gerrymandering designed to limit the voting strength of blacks and Hispanics?

A three-judge panel in Federal District Court in Manhattan has begun weighing this and other questions, including whether district lines that divide a large concentration of ethnic minorities on Long Island into four smaller groups violate the federal Voting Rights Act.

The trial is a result of a lawsuit challenging, on the grounds of racial discrimination, the redrawing of districts in 2002 after the 2000 census. The plaintiffs contend that the districts are not fairly drawn. Rather, "there is unmistakable method to the madness," they have said in court papers. The State Legislature must redraw State Senate and Assembly district lines every 10 years to take the census into account.

"The Great Election Grab"

Jeffrey Toobin has a long article in The New Yorker: Fact with the subtitle: "When does gerrymandering become a threat to democracy?" You get the drift; now get the details.

Rhode Island seeks rehearing

The Providence (RI) Journal reports,

State Senate leaders are asking a federal appeals court to reconsider the reinstatement of a lawsuit that claims the new Senate district map illegally dilutes black voting power in Providence.

A three-judge panel reinstated the redistricting suit last month, sending the matter back to Chief U.S. District Judge Ernest C. Torres, who had dismissed the case in September 2002.

But now Senate lawyers have filed a petition with the 1st Circuit, asking for a "rehearing" by the three-judge panel -- or by all six active circuit judges.

North Carolina seeks validation of its redistricting plan

AP reports,

Supporters of North Carolina's latest redistricting bill on Monday sought a court judgment declaring key elements of the legislation legally valid. Plaintiffs, which include House Co-Speakers Richard Morgan and James Black, said the filing in Wake County Superior Court is in response to threatened legal challenges to the bill passed last week. "They bring this action in their capacities as leaders of the General Assembly in order to have declared constitutional and enforceable a challenged act of the Legislature," the complaint states.

DeLay won't testify

AP reports,

A three-judge federal panel on Monday rejected attempts to force House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and Rep. Joe Barton to testify in a lawsuit over Texas' new congressional districts.

The two Republicans had been issued subpoenas for deposition testimony, letters, e-mails and other materials in a lawsuit that seeks to block the new congressional maps.

The federal panel agreed with the lawmakers' attorney that only under exceptional circumstances, such as having unique information in a case, could they be subject to a subpoena.

Unless evidence is shown that DeLay and Barton might fall under that description, their testimony is not essential, the panel ruled. It did, however, leave open the possibility of reconsidering its decision during trial, which is set to begin on Dec. 11.

The judicial panel heard arguments over the subpoenas during a 40-minute conference call Monday morning.

Where's Ed?

Q: Why hasn't Ed been writing much recently?

A: I have been in Arizona for the trial of a redistricting case. We have had 10 days of trial, and the defendants expect they will not finish their case until late next week. I have been working night and day on the tria, and adding to this blog has been pushed to the back.

Colorado re-redistricting held unconstitutional

Today the Colorado Supreme Court held the legislature's redistricting plan

is unconstitutional because the Colorado Constitution requires the General Assembly to redistrict after each census and before the ensuing general election, and does not allow redistricting at any other time. Because the General Assembly failed to redistrict during this constitutional window, it relinquished its authority to redistrict until after the 2010 census.

To read the entire opinion, to the Court's OPINIONS site and click on the first case number.

The Washington Post and NPR's All Things Considered had good stories on the decision.