Our Republicans don’t need to be in legislative session to assault us. No, all they need is a law and our money to attack us. Which is what they’re up to right now.
Here’s the situation: Our Republican state legislators didn’t much like the Independent Redistricting Commission this year. They tried to remove its head and then considered defunding it.
Neither happened, the maps the IRC drew were approved, and life goes on. For state Republicans, life goes on very nicely, since the state districts are even more Republican-leaning.
Still, the Republicans are furious. So they’re suing. Their target? Us.
That’s right. They’re claiming in federal court that the amendment to the Arizona Constitution voters approved 12 years ago — the one that took redistricting out of the legislature’s hands and gave it to an independent commission — is unconstitutional.
In other words, they’re arguing that our constitution is now, well, unconstitutional.
An interesting concept. Why now, why not 12 years ago when the Commission first acted?
According to Republican Speaker of the House Andy Tobin, “They [the people] felt the process was done correctly last time.”
Whoa, wait a minute there, pardner. I thought your argument was the law itself is unconstitutional. But here you’re saying the results are what counts, not the constitutionality of the law we — the taxpayers, the legislators’ constituents — passed in 2000.
But now? Well, we the people are the defendents in the case, clearly because our Republicans believe we the people made a constitutional booboo 12 years ago.
And they’re ready to take the case all the way to the United States Supreme Court.
Which could take years and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars.
Well, points for the Republicans here; at least they’re willing to put their money where their collective mouth is, willing to pay to defend their principle.
Except they’re not. Instead, they’ve created a neat little trick: They’re gonna have the defendents pay for the plaintiffs’ costs.
How so? How are we — the people the Republicans are suing — paying for their lawsuit? How does that work?
Here’s how: They legislated it.
That’s right. Our Republican legislators — in the tail end of the session — funded their own lawsuit in the state budget. And didn’t cap the amount.
Which means two things:
They can spend as much as they please.
And we pay for it.
Neat trick indeed.
Mike McClellan is a Gilbert resident and former English teacher at Dobson High School in Mesa.