Redistricting Commission Wins by Knockout

Mike Tyson once knocked out Michael Spinks in 90 seconds.

But that fight seemed long compared to the now-all-but-over battle over redistricting.

Last week the California Supreme Court dismissed -- quickly, unanimously and without even bothering to hold an argument – two challenges to maps of legislative districts drawn by the citizens’ redistricting commission.

In so doing, the court made plain that the commission’s maps are here to stay, and further challenges are folly.  

Yes, Republicans are still pursuing a referendum of the state senate maps. But that effort, which already looked pointless, should be dropped very soon as a result of this ruling.

Why wouldn’t a referendum work? Because the state supreme court’s decision make clear that the commission’s maps are legal and constitutional.

That creates a political obstacle – why are you bothering to challenge maps with a referendum when the seven-member court, dominated by Republican appointees, has just indicated the maps are perfectly fine? – and a practical one.

Even if the referendum qualifies for the ballot, a temporary map would be put in place – but that map would likely be the commission’s map, which was just given the seal of approval by the state supreme court.

Even if a referendum were approved by voters, the very same supreme court would assign the special masters to draw the new maps.  

That should be checkmate, but Republicans will try other moves. They're now asking the federal government to intervene and block the maps on the grounds that they will limit the political power of Latinos.

Yes, you read that right.

California Republicans are asking the U.S. Justice Department -- which is run by Democrats -- to block maps created by a commission that exists because of Republican support in order to protect the rights of Latinos, a core Democratic constituency.

My head is spinning.

The official surrender can't come soon enough for Republicans.

Instead of wasting money and time on the referndum and legal manuevers, the party should seize the opportunity to focus on rebuilding itself and pursuing political reforms that would give it more of a chance at winning legislative elections.

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