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Bendering the Rules on Redistricting

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Memo to the MSM: The redistricting process will yield hundreds and hundreds of stories over the next year as the results of the process in the big and medium states will impact the make-up of Congress and thus its votes for the ten years beginning in January 2013. The first of the big MSM sites to drill down into the ins-and-outs of the process across the nation will pick up enormous traffic as a result. My bet is on the Wall Street Journal which long ago figured out how silos of coverage on specific areas can yield big bounties for traffic. The arcane but hugely important world of redistricting is one such potential windfall of eyeballs.

The first big story in this category is coming out of deep red Arizona, which is picking up at least one new Congressional seat and where state law provides for a redistricting commission, assembled via an arcane nominating and selection process that is ripe for abuse. The attempt to manipulate that commission’s make-up via the nominations is already under way, and, surprise, if that manipulation is successful, the commission will tilt way left.

One example: The application for appointment to the Commission as an “independent” from former Deputy Solicitor General under Bill Clinton Paul Bender, a liberal law school professor and former dean at Arizona State University law school. Professor Bender’s application to join the commission is here, and his law firm biography is here. Note that the Professor Bender’s distinguished career is marked by service in Democratic administrations. Those who follow the politics of judicial nominations will recall how the left used Professor Bender in the attacks on Miguel Estrada early in the Bush Administration. Questions about the eligibility of three of the potential members of the Commission, including Professor Bender, have already surfaced so Bender’s attempt to help draw the new political lines in Arizona should be short-lived, but the idea that status as an “independent” for purposes of voting somehow makes for a nonpartisan redistricting process is absurd.

There is also a report that one commission applicant, who did not make the final list of nominees, was criticized by a member of the the nominating panel because he listed his Christian belief in service as one of the reasons for his application, which would be a religious test, an unconstitutional bar to public service in the United States.

The indefatigable Chris Cook at Western Free Press is all over various aspects of the Arizona commission story, but no one yet in the MSM has figured out that this seemingly arcane bit of state politics may well have a huge impact on national issues in 2013. These sorts of stories aren’t Beltway-driven and they come with some complexity attached to them which puts them beyond the grasp of the horse-race-and-gossip-only political reporters who dominate election coverage.

Watch this story and the redistricting space generally, though, as this is just the first effort by the left to win back what was lost on November 2.

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