Thursday, January 26, 2012

High Court Slaps Down GOP Leadership Effort to Fire Redistricting Commissioners

Posted By on Thu, Jan 26, 2012 at 9:14 AM

Idaho's Redestricting Commission reconvenes this morning with the the same members it had last fall, in spite of the wishes of Idaho Republican Party Chairman Norm Semanko and House Speaker Lawerence Denney.

Semanko and Denney's attempt to fire commission members Dolores Crow and Randy Hansen was shot down Wednesday, when the Idaho Supreme Court ruled that commissioners can be appointed by their respective political parties, but not fired. Crow and Hansen were both appointed by GOP leaders to the six-member panel, comprised of three Republican and three Democratic representatives.

When the high court ruled the commission's most-recent redistricting map was unconstitutional, Semanko and Denney said they wanted to oust Crow and Hansen "for failing to protect party interests."

Semanko and Denney, still licking their wounds, issued a joint statement sent out this morning from the Idaho Republican Party.

"The Commission will reconvene today with a cloud of uncertainty continuing to hang over it with regard to the ultimate legality of any new plan that it may adopt. That is the unfortunate reality of yesterday's timing."

Meanwhile, Phil Batt, former governor and GOP party chief, authored a guest opinion appearing in this morning's Idaho Statesman, saying Semanko and Denney "want to sully the reapportionment process for more political gain."

"I predict that Republican dominance in Idaho will decline rather than grow if we say neutrality has no place in reapportionment, and that the commission must do it our way or else," Batt said in the scathing letter.

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