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Nev. GOP tells SOS to stay out of redistricting process

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Oct 25, 2011


CARSON CITY, Nev. (Legal Newsline) - The Nevada Republican Party, in a filing Monday, says Secretary of State Ross Miller's emergency petition for writ of mandamus to intervene in a court-conducted redistricting process is inappropriate.

At issue is whether the redistricting process being conducted by the First Judicial Court of the State of Nevada should be permitted to continue.

According to state law, it is necessary and appropriate for Nevada state courts to intervene when the legislative process has not produced a redistricting plan and when parties will be "injured" absent action by the courts.

Miller first filed a motion to stay the proceedings. However, the Nevada Supreme Court denied his motion and permitted the district court and the court-appointed special masters to go ahead with the process.

The special masters subsequently held public hearings, drew maps based on criteria provided by the district court and public input, and on Oct. 14 published proposed plans for the state's new legislative and congressional districts.

Comments on the proposed plans were due Monday, and the district court has set a hearing for Thursday. The Court's hearing on Miller's petition for writ of mandamus is set for Nov. 14.

To grant the writ petition at this stage of the district court's proceedings would be "counter to principles of 'sound judicial economy and administration,'" the GOP argues.

"There is no more 'urgency' at this juncture of the redistricting process than there is in any other redistricting case where election deadlines loom, and it would be far more efficient to permit the district court to finish its work and then, if necessary, take the matter up on appeal," the party wrote.

The special masters, it says, did not decide any questions of law and any decisions were based on "facts presented to them" and not on any legal guidance or lack thereof provided by the district court.

"In the end, as intervenor-plaintiffs previously have stated, the writ petition, combined with the recently-decided motions to stay the district court proceedings, was nothing more than an attempt to circumvent the district court's redistricting process and get another bite at the apple," the GOP wrote.

Nevada isn't the only state facing redistricting woes.

Challenges to redistricting plans have been filed in state supreme courts in Ohio and West Virginia recently, among others.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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