October 4, 2011

SOS wants Supreme Court intervention on redistricting

Secretary of State Ross Miller filed a lawsuit with the state Supreme Court, asking them to force district court Judge James Russell to rule on several legal matters before the Special Masters draw congressional and legislative districts.

Miller wants Russell to rule on several issues, including whether Nevada merits a majority Hispanic district under the Voting Rights Act. That issue has been a sticking point throughout the redistricting process and is one of the reasons that the maps went to court in the first place.

However, Russell absolved himself of ruling on the VRA by passing responsibility onto the Special Masters.

As Miller noted in his lawsuit, Russell's ruling seemed a bit contradictory, since he'd ultimately have to approve of the Special Masters' districts and could easily set up an appeal from one of the political parties.

Miller claimed the inevitable court challenge to the districts would delay the 2012 election cycle and wants the Supreme Court to force Russell to rule on the Hispanic district by October 12, the date when the Masters begin drawing the districts following two public hearings on October 10 and 11.

Since this court process is unprecedented in Nevada's redistricting history, it's hard to say whether an immediate ruling by Russell would've eased the Special Masters' task or if it would've resulted in further legal challenges.