To all of the mainstream press who tried to claim the courts would be objective, we say…told you so. Tonight, Denver District Court Judge Robert Hyatt ruled in redistricting, taking the Democrats' Congressional map in whole. The new map rips apart the current one, despite the fact that Colorado is not gaining or losing a Congressional seat. The court was forced to settle the issue after Senate President Brandon Shaffer (D-Longmont) directed his caucus to filibuster their own redistricting map, ending any hopes of it being solved by the Legislature.
The map approved by Judge Hyatt takes large Republican chunks of Mike Coffman's 6th Congressional district and moves them into Cory Gardner's 4th CD, while putting all of Aurora into Coffman's district. This will make Coffman's district much more competitive while further tilting Gardner's district to the right.
In his announcement, Judge Hyatt went to pains to praise his own decision and insult Republicans for their belief that the state's lines shouldn't be ripped up for the sole purpose of helping Democrats win offices they couldn't otherwise.
In a Denver Post piece on Judge Hyatt a few weeks ago the only political figure that went on record to praise Hyatt was failed former Governor Bill Ritter, a possible foreshadowing of today’s announcement. The liberal lapdog judge even slurped up the Democrats' messaging in his ruling, holding fast to the "competitiveness" trope that the Colorado Supreme Court seemed to dismiss in proceedings yesterday.
From the ruling:
It appears clear to this court that the [Democrats] approach to redistricting Colorado will also produce the maximum amount of competition of any of the realistically proffered maps in at least three districts — the 3rd, the 6th and the 7th.
Judge Hyatt might want to check with his superiors on the Supreme Court about that line of reasoning. Just yesterday, Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs asked a lawyer arguing for competitiveness in reapportionment, redistricting's state legislative cousin:
"The constitution doesn't reflect that (competitiveness), does it?
We understand the judiciary's role to be interpreting the constitution and not gerrymandering districts to aid favored political parties. Did Justice Hyatt learn something different in law school?
In running offense for the Democrats' desires on redistricting, the Judge has brought to fruition the political plan hatched among the liberal power brokers of Colorado.
That means the end of the road for Senate President Brandon Shaffer's Congressional pipe dream. After Shaffer was unable to "Brandon-Mander" his own personal Congressional district in the Legislature, he was forced into the embarrassing act of filibustering his own redistricting bill.
But when time came to submit a map to the court, the powers that be in the Colorado Democrat Party (spelled S-T-R-Y-K-E-R) submitted one that drew Shaffer's home in Longmont out of the same Congressional district he was running in. The final Democrat map managed to gerrymander Shaffer's home back into the 4th CD, but only for appearances, as the district is heavily Republican.
For all of Shaffer's effort in the waning days of the legislative session to end up taking a shank in the back from the Progressive Roundtable in the court has got to hurt.
Meanwhile, conservatives are quietly snickering that the Democrats went to such pains to gerrymander a Congressman that even their gerrymander won't beat. Mike Coffman, no doubt, is angry that his 2012 calendar just got more hectic, but he won't be beaten. He knows it. We know it. The only people who don't know it are the gerrymandering Democrats, and their lap dog judge.