State Supreme Court Rejects Republican Redistricting Lawsuit

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The California Supreme Court has unanimously rejected efforts by the Republican Party to discard new district boundaries for members of the House of Representatives and state Senate.

On a 7-0 vote Wednesday, the court turned down the GOP suit to throw out the lines approved in August by the new California Citizens Redistricting Commission.

The commission was approved by voters last November in an effort to end the centuries-old practice of having politicians meet in private to draw their own district boundaries. New lines are drawn after every national census for both houses of the state Legislature and the House of Representatives.

The Republican challenge to the Senate districts was filed in the name of Julie Vandermost of Laguna Beach.

Republicans had contended the new state Senate and House boundaries favor Democrats and could lead to overwhelming Democratic domination of the state Senate.

Statewide, Republicans represent fewer than one-third of all voters. In Orange County, about 43 percent of voters are Republicans.

Republicans still are trying to qualify a referendum for the June ballot that would allow voters to reject the new state Senate district lines.

The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday that Mercury Insurance Chairman George Joseph recently gave the California Republican Party a $1-million donation and the party poured at least $900,000 into the referendum signature-gathering effort this week.

From the Times story:

Jeff Green, a spokesman for Joseph, did not say why the insurance executive opposed the Senate districts. Many analysts believe that the districts favor Democrats enough that Republican representation in the upper house could fall below the one-third threshold needed to block tax increases in Sacramento.

This is the second time in recent months that Joseph has opened his checkbook to reshape state politics. Last summer he contributed $8.1 million to an effort to place an initiative on the 2012 ballot that would allow insurance companies to hike certain fees to customers. Proponents are gathering signatures.

— TRACY WOOD

 

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