In the course of the Reapportionment Commission proceedings former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb managed to make quite the fool of himself with false accusations of racism. But he did manage to make one smart point when he said "competitiveness is not one of the constitutional criteria I remember taking an oath to uphold." Based on the Colorado Supreme Court's questioning during court proceedings yesterday, it appears they find the "competitiveness" trope to be just as constitutionally dubious.
Tim Hoover of The Denver Post reports that the justices grilled attorney David Fine, who was representing the Reapportionment Commission, and there to defend maps drawn and pushed through by Reapportionment Commission Chairman "Super Partisan" Mario Carrera. The justices were not impressed with the weak "competitiveness" argument, with Justice Gregory Hobbs saying:
The constitution doesn't reflect that (competitiveness), does it?
BOOM! What do you think Scott Martinez and Mark Grueskin would have to say about that? "Competitiveness," which can also be read "Help Give Dems A Chance Against Mike Coffman, Your Honor" has been the entire legal and PR underpinning to the Democrats' redistricting and reapportionment cases.
Redistricting is the decennial process of redrawing Congressional district lines to account for population changes identified in the US Census. It is currently being decided by the Denver District Court, after Brandon Shaffer refused to negotiate in the Legislature on any lines for the 4th Congressional District that wouldn't improve his electoral chances.
Reapportionment is redistricting's state legislative cousin, where all 35 state Senate and 65 state House district lines need to be redrawn. Maps for the state House and state Senate were approved by the Reapportionment Commission after so-called "Unaffiliated" Chairman Carrera drew them at the last minute, and used his BS reputation as a registered "Unaffiliated" voter to claim he drew them without partisan bias.
Of course, we here at Colorado Peak Politics put lie to that claim when we reported that Carrera had donated nearly $8,500 to Colorado Democrats since 2008, including cutting a $250 check to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) while chairing the Commission as a supposed non-partisan voter.
On a side note, we have to ask — Hoover: what is more defining of Carrera's political identity? His voter registration card or his extensive political activities sending large sums of money to one political party? Is it really a fair description to simply call him an "Unaffiliated" without noting his vast partisan political donations?
There is a reason "competitiveness" is not a legitimate argument and it goes beyond the fact that it doesn't exist in the constitution. Partisans, like Mario Carrera, don't believe in making it an equal playing field. By their very nature they are out to help their side of the political aisle gain ground. Neither Democrats, nor Republicans, actually care about competitive elections, they care about winning elections.
Each side is trying to game the system to their party's advantage. It looks like the Colorado Supreme Court understands that and just may be telling Democrats and their stooge Mario Carrera to go back to the drawing board and come up with something that actually passes constitutional muster, not just the best interests of the recipients of Carrera's big campaign checks.
Thanks to a tough grilling from the Supreme Court, now we know that not only is Mario "the Unaffiliated" a fraud, but so is the "competitiveness" argument he carried on behalf of the Democrat partisans he represents.