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Arizona Redistricting Suit Picked Up by Supreme Court

WASHINGTON (CN) - The Supreme Court agreed Thursday to decide whether Arizona's adoption of congressional districts by commission complies with the law.

Voters created the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission through Proposition 106 in 2000.

Though Democrats challenged the first map that the commission adopted in 2002, their challenge was dismissed, and the Republican-led Legislature then challenged the map that the commission released in 2012.

The Arizona Legislature complained in its lawsuit that Prop. 106 illegally removed its "authority to prescribe legislative and congressional district lines."

The Legislature said Prop. 106 "eliminates entirely the Legislature's prescriptive role in congressional redistricting, and creates a new and extremely limited role."

It sought an injunction to stop the implementation of "any congressional redistricting plan from the IRC beginning the day after the 2012 congressional election is held in Arizona."

The Associated Press reported that Democrats won Arizona's three most competitive districts in 2012, and that the same areas "are being hotly contested again this year."

Arizona petitioned the Supreme Court for review after a divided panel of federal judges dismissed their action this past February.

The justices said Thursday that they would consider the case on the merits despite concerns over jurisdiction.

"Further consideration of the question of jurisdiction is postponed," a brief order states, "to the hearing of the case on the merits limited to the following questions: 1) Do the Elections Clause of the United States Constitution and 2 U. S. C. §2a(c) permit Arizona's use of a commission to adopt congressional districts? 2) Does the Arizona Legislature have standing to bring this suit?"

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