Supreme Court decision on Senate districts blasted by Republicans
Friday's California Supreme Court's decision to use a citizens commission's newly drawn state Senate district boundaries for the 2012 election was blasted by Republicans who had challenged the maps and are hoping to have a referendum on the November ballot.
"We are very disappointed that the court has apparently allowed their historical distaste for the reapportionment process to cloud their judgment and view of the law,'' said Sen. Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Niguel). "The court's opinion is shortsighted and disrespectful of the over 700,000 Californians who signed referendum petitions in the hope of getting a fair Senate redistricting plan for 2012 that respects the state Constitution."
Dave Gilliard, the GOP advisor behind the petition drive and the lawsuit, said the court made a mistake.
"Sadly, the chief justice applied a flawed, politically based precedent established by former Chief Justice Rose Bird, who was removed from office by the voters for repeatedly ignoring the Constitution and the will of the voters," Gilliard said.
But, Peter Yao, a member of the Citizens Redistricting Commission, said the court decision was the correct one, based on the law.
"I'm extremely pleased with the court's decision. The court has agreed that our maps are legal and that they are the best maps to use for the 2012 election," said Yao, a Claremont engineer. "We felt very comfortable with what we had done."
Democrats in the Senate said the court upheld the wishes of voters who approved the initiative putting the drawing of legislative districts in the hands of a citizens commission.
"Senate Democrats are pleased but aren't surprised that the Supreme Court wisely decided to uphold the clear will of California voters," Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said in a statement. "Our focus has been and will continue to be on communicating directly to our constituents about what we are doing to strengthen the economy and our schools."
-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento