Success Story

Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission Wins Final Case Over Congressional Boundaries

On November 7, 2000, Arizona voters approved Proposition 106, also known as the Constitutional Amendment Relating to Creation of a Redistricting Commission. With its passage, the Arizona constitution was amended to create an independent redistricting commission charged with redrawing the State’s legislative and congressional district boundaries after every census.

The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (AIRC) faced legal challenges from several plaintiffs, including the Arizona State Legislature, and was mired in legal battles over the political boundaries it drew earlier this decade. Legal challenges ranged from disputing who actually had the constitutional authority to redraw the maps to the mechanics and logistics of determining the new boundaries, the makeup of voters in the new districts, and the effect on congressional races. Each attempt to draw a new map resulted in more debate.

Ballard Spahr helped the Commission achieve preclearance of its congressional and legislative maps from the U.S. Department of Justice for the first time in Arizona history and successfully defended the Commission in all legal challenges brought against its maps, including Arizona Legislature v. AIRC, 135 S.Ct. 46 (2014), Harris v. AIRC, 136 S.Ct. 1301 (2016), and Leach v. AIRC, No. CV 2012-007344 (Maricopa Ct. Sup. Ct. 2017).

Ballard Spahr has represented the Commission since 2011. In the last remaining lawsuit against the Commission, a Maricopa County judge ruled in favor of the Commission, granting its requests for summary judgment without a trial. This should allow the Commission’s mapping process to be finalized—at least until the next census.

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