Monday, November 28, 2011

Recall challenge may have legs

In yesterday's Journal Sentinel article on the challenge to holding recalls in old Senate districts, Loyola Law Professor Justin Leavitt is quoted as saying that a recent summary affirmance of a district court decision in Mississippi by the Supreme Court "mirrors" what happened in Wisconsin such that the challenge is likely to fail.

Maybe not.

As I argued here and here, courts have not required immediate redistricting after completion of a decennial census. This reflects a pragmatic judgment that state legislatures ought to have some time to complete a difficult task. In that sense, the recent affirmance in Mississippi State Conference of NAACP v. Barbour  is not surprising.

But, as I also argued (albeit in posts written before the Mississippi State Conference decision), it is not clear that the same pragmatic concern applies to recalls held after redistricting occurs. That is not what happened in Mississippi and thus it is unclear what impact the case will have here. Because it was a summary affirmance (i.e., the Court issued no opinion and did not explain its rationale), the issue is unresolved.

1 comment:

Tom said...

Aside from the argument that the old districts are unconstitutionally disproportionate (I believe the largest Assembly district is over twice the population of the smallest), there is the argument that the legislature's split of representation and voting unconstitutionally disenfranchises citizens who are represented by a Senator but are unable to vote for OR against him or her.