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Saturday, October 23, 2021

State Supreme Court rejects redistricting lawsuits

Last Wednesday, The California Supreme Court unanimously rejected two Republican backed lawsuits to the new state redistricting lines, thwarting GOP attempts to gain political leverage in the upcoming elections.

“In the absence of a written opinion, we can only speculate as to why they made this decision, but we are resolute in gathering the signatures necessary so that voters can weigh in on this matter,” said California Republican Party Chair Tom Del Beccaro in a press release.

Members of the State Supreme Court summarily rejected the lawsuits without listening to oral arguments. The decision was held in a closed-door meeting.

The lawsuits “failed to provide any facts showing the [California Redistricting Commission’s] work was an unreasonable application of the redistricting criteria,” according to the redistricting commission in an earlier press release.

The only significant remaining contest against the new district lines is a Republican-backed ballot referendum that would summarily reject those lines until voters approve them in the next statewide election. If approved, “court-appointed officials would have to set interim boundaries for use in the next statewide election,” according to Attorney General Kamala Harris’ website. In order to succeed, the party must collect 504,760 signatures by Nov. 13 to get the measure on the ballot.

The new redistricting lines have disquieted many incumbent lawmakers, many of whom may face a new direct competition against each other.

Yolo County’s Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis), however, faces little opposition in her re-election bid with the new 3rd State Senate District. Her district would still encompass much of Yolo and Solano but also gain parts of Napa, Sonoma and Contra Costa Counties.

On Aug. 15, the California Redistricting Commission passed a new set of legislative district lines after months of deliberation and heated public comment. Legislative redistricting occurs every 10 years. This is the first time citizens conducted the redistricting process as a result of a 2008 voter approved measure. Previously, California lawmakers were responsible for drawing up their own districts.

The Citizen Redistricting Committee is composed of five Democrats, five Republicans, and four Independents. One of the members is Yolo County’s own Stan Forbes, co-owner of the indie bookstore, the Avid Reader. According to the redistricting committee website, Forbes also helps operate a family ranch where he grows almonds. He is registered as Decline-To-State.

The general election is still more than a year away, but for most California politicians and political junkies, election season is never over.

RAMON SOLIS can be reached at city@theaggie.org.

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