Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Battling My Way Through The Forest of Redistricting Motions Before The Court

The Redistricting Board website has a page called Pleadings which lists the motions filed with the Superior Court since mid-August.   I counted 51 separate documents since September 13, 2013.  I finally decided I had to copy and paste the list and then go through the documents and note what they are about.  Some are just procedural and won't matter in the big picture, such as the documents arguing for or against the Alaska Democratic Party being allowed to file some motions late.  (The judge accepted them so the motions to accept or not accept them late really don't seem like they could have much future impact on the case itself.)

Basically, what I understand them to be doing is asking the judge to make a 'summary judgment' on this or that.  Wikipedia explains 'summary judgment' this way:

"In law, a summary judgment (also judgment as a matter of law) is a judgment entered by a court for one party and against another party summarily, i.e., without a full trial. Such a judgment may be issued on the merits of an entire case, or on discrete issues in that case. Today, summary judgment is governed by Federal Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, derived primarily from the three seminal cases concerning summary judgment out of the 1980s. .  .

"A party moving (applying) for summary judgment is attempting to avoid the time and expense of a trial when the outcome is obvious. A party may also move for summary judgement in order to eliminate the risk of losing at trial, and possibly avoid having to go through discovery (i.e., by moving at the outset of discovery), by demonstrating to the judge, via sworn statements and documentary evidence, that there are no material factual issues remaining to be tried. If there's nothing for the factfinder to decide, then the moving party asks rhetorically, why have a trial? The moving party will also attempt to persuade the court that the undisputed material facts require judgment to be entered in its favor. In many jurisdictions, a party moving for summary judgment takes the risk that, although the judge may agree there are no material issues of fact remaining for trial, the judge may also find that it is the non-moving party that is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."

As I'm going through these, I think that I've already posted the main arguments being made by the Riley Plaintiffs and the Alaska Democratic Party (ADP).  I think.  Actually, I  there are some more ADP motions I didn't cover yet.  I'm still checking.  What I know I haven't adequately done is go over the Redistricting Board's responses and then the Riley and ADP responses to the Board's responses.  Confused yet?  I am.  

So, what seems to be happening is that the Riley Plaintiffs and the ADP are saying to the court,
"Look there are all these problems with how the Board did the plan.  We want you to rule (summary judgment) that these districts aren't compact, economic/socially integrated, etc." 

 And then the Board files a motion saying,

"They're wrong.  We did this carefully and there was no other way to do it.  We want you to rule (make a summary judgment) for us and against them."
Of course, there's more detail than that and I'll try to pull it out soon. 

The only decisions that I see that the judge has made so far (since September) have been on accepting the late filing by the Alaska Democratic Party, setting dates for a hearing if that's necessary, and accepting the Board's request to postpone the trial.  No summary judgments.  But he has talked about an 'omnibus

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