Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Alaska Redistricting Board To Appeal Ruling on Districts 37 and 38

[11:50am Anchorage time:  I heard this online.  They met - got an overview - went into executive session.  When they came out, what I understood was that they would appeal the decisions on House Districts 37 and 38.  Then they discussed timing.  Things may not be totally complete by the June 1 filing deadline for candidates.

What I didn't hear was when or how they would deal with HDs 1 and 2.  I didn't hear they would appeal them or what they would do to meet the judge's ruling about them.  Below are my notes as listened.  Also worth noting, Attorney White mentioned that the plaintiffs could also appeal parts of the decision that went against them.]

[UPDATE Feb. 8:  The Board posted this on their website regarding HDs 1 and 2:
The Board decided not to appeal Judge McConahy's remand of House Districts 1 and 2.

"We believe that the fix to House Districts 1 and 2 will be relatively straightforward," said Torgerson. "We will address those issues after the Supreme Court has made its ruling next month."]

 ROUGH NOTES WARNING:  Read at your own peril.  These notes should give you a sense of what happened, but are not reliable for specifics.  What you find here is, at best, good for figuring out what further questions to ask. 

Board opened at 10:03am Alaska time.  Everyone was there (at least by phone.)  [As I was listening online, I couldn't quite tell who was there physically.]

Live streaming - lots of echo. [It turned out I had this on two different windows and when I shut one down, the echo disappeared.]

Michael White's Report
Judge McConahy's Decision

Here's the agenda:

BOARD MEETING AGENDA Tuesday, February 7, 2012 Anchorage, AK
    - Bickford talked about the budget
Michael White (Board Attorney) is going over his memo which you can get here.
Found on our favor on splitting Fairbanks, the proportionality rulings, and the Senate seats.
Found we could have higher deviation if necessary for other factors.
He ruled HD 2 not compact and we had nothing for that.
Districts 1 and 2 unconstitutional and have to be redrawn.
HD 5 in our favor.  HD 6 - hard to know what they wanted - but judge ruled in our favor.  No issues with any of the FB Senate pairings.
They said city of Fairbanks entitled to a Senate seat.  Judge agreed with us they didn't have enough people for one seat.
Compactness, court said, they had to go somewhere.  
37 and 38 against us.
Our decision to divide Aleutian Chain to avoid pairing of Senators Hoffman and Stevens, which we thought was necessary to avoid.  . .  we thought if we paired two out of seven Native lawmakers, it would be problematic, we had complaints from Calista and Kodiak, we knew all along that the Hickel decision ruled splitting Aleutians unconstitutional unless required by law.  The judge said it was too speculative so it didn't trump the Constitution and remanded it back to the board requiring us to put Aleutians back together.

Also alluded that other Native districts had more Native population than required.  I'm still struggling with that, I still don't understand that.  Somehow he thinks because 39 and 40 affected the necessary standard for violating the constitution.  He has a citation in Hickel.  We'll talk more in Executive Session what I think about these things.

HD 38, in which he said Board - urban and rural had to be combined, undisputed.  It's reasonable to take from Ester and Goldstream, but at the end he says I'm throwing it out because avoiding Stevens and Hoffman pairing affected  district 38 - which it didn't - and so it wasn't necessary to violate constitution for VRA.
Tally and Scoreboard.  4 districts court found unconstitutional.  Obviously dependent on the SC if we go there.

Bickford - which ones not remanded?
All the other Senate pairings.  four out of ten challenged.
Brodie:  If we make any changes to 37 or 38 we have to resubmit to DOJ?
White:  Any change at all has to be resubmitted.  We're under expedited ....
Petition for Review, means in non-redistricting context.  Ask appellate court   ---- because remanded to court, not technically a final order.  We have a meeting scheduled for 2:30 today ???? they want briefs by Friday - three days from now.  Increased from 15 to 25 pages.  Any petitions for review by us or plaintiffs.  Then oral argument in middle of March, March 15 likely date for that.
Looking at procedural things that need to be done.  No transcripts of trial and whether they need to be done.
Bottom line is that in the end there are 4 districts remanded by the judge to the board and we have to decide what we want to do.

Bickford:  Clarification - we can choose to appeal a part?
White:  Yes.
10:29  Torgerson:  Going to Executive Session.  It should last about an hour.  We will have people here wait in the hallway because some things brought up in trial were discussed in Executive Session so we assume that things were heard in the past while we were in Executive Session.

Things stopped at this point and they should be back in about an hour or 11:30 Alaska time. (I was listening online from California.)


11:38 Anchorage time - they are going to appeal about 37 and 38.  Michael White is talking about timing, I didn't catch it all.  Something about seven days.  SC would either affirm or reverse and send it back to trial court and then it would be remanded to the board.

About 3rd week in March the board would get back together and adopt an amended proclamation, then parties to the case could raise issues.  Others couldn't.  New people can't come in and raise new challenges.  If there are challenges SC will review.  Middle of May or towards the end of May last time it was done.

If any lines changed have to go back to DOJ.  Probably wouldn't wait for all appeals, could go to DOJ before all settled.  There's an expidited process available.

Last time they got the letter of non-rejection in middle of June.  Preclearance means you can't put a plan into use, but people can file.

Hope to get it before June 1 but may not happen.

Brodie:  Filing for a review from SC?

White:  With an appeal you have ten days.  Petition for review, put justification for why they should take it.  SC will take it.

Brodie:  SC sends to trial court then?

White:  It will be a pass through to us when it comes back.

Torgerson:  Appeal 37 and 38?

All vote yes. 

Torgerson:  Any other motions?  Seeing none, go to board comments. No more meetings until it goes to SC.  If members want to fly up, that's legitimate.  I plan on being there.

About March 15.  Michael says meet 3rd week of March, but I think it will be close to 1 April.  Once we get decision, we'll start fishing dates, depending on rulings.  For planning purposes, let's block out three days.  Depending on the ruling, try to block out three days or more if possible incase we had to we could keep going.

White:  Last time they allowed people to present plans.  Don't know if that's required.  Litigants at least were allowed to comment.  Something to think about.

Torgerson:  Kept the most open plan there was, but put back by the presentation of a plan the first day of trial.  The Democrats putting a plan out to protect Fairbanks Democrats, put the rest of the state under the bus to help Fairbanks Democrats.

Brodie:  Do the best we can.

Torgerson:  Anyone else?

Bickford:  Look at your calendars for April.

Torgerson:  Michael has pre trial hearing today.

White:  After oral argument last time I went away to CB Winery cooking school.  I slept til ten and . . .  we got our decision March 27 or something last time.

Torgerson:  Thank you everyone for taking another day out of your schedule.


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