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Authors: Benton, T. Hart
Keywords: electoral reform
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Loyola University New Orleans College of Law
Citation: 62 Loy. L. Rev. 155
Abstract: In an effort to eliminate the practice of gerrymandering congressional electoral districts, Arizona voters established an independent redistricting commission in 2000 and granted it autonomous congressional redistricting authority. This independent commission brought to the forefront deep concerns regarding the constitutionality of using a ballot initiative to adopt legislation aimed at congressional electoral reform. Subsequent litigation brought by the Arizona State Legislature culminated in the recent landmark Supreme Court decision Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (AIRC). In AIRC, a five-to-four majority found that the Elections Clause of the United States Constitution and § 2a(c) of Title II of the United States Code permit the use of the ballot initiative to adopt congressional redistricting legislation. This Note proposes that AIRC may transform the American electoral process by enabling other states to adopt and improve upon the independent commission model. Section I of this Note discusses the facts relevant to the Court’s decision in AIRC. Next, Section II provides a background of the constitutional provisions, congressional statutes, and case law relevant to understanding the issue of the constitutionality of the Arizona Commission. Section III outlines the rationale the Court used to find the enactment of the commission constitutional, as well as a discussion of Chief Justice Roberts’s dissenting opinion. Finally, Section IV analyzes the impact of the Court’s interpretation of the “state legislature” under the Elections Clause and § 2a(c) in AIRC. More specifically, this section examines whether the adoption of electoral legislation by ballot initiative will reduce gerrymandering by allowing states to improve the independent commission model. It also discusses the potential impact that AIRC may have on presidential electoral reform through the effective dissolution of the Electoral College by the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.
ISSN: 0192-9720
Appears in Collections:Law Review

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