Judge’s redistricting questioned

Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada director Bob Fulkerson is questioning the legality and wisdom of a judge writing a new redistricting plan for the legislature.

“For one thing, it looks like the process as laid out eliminates any kind of participation by the public,” he said. “And for another reason, it’s in violation of the state constitution.”

After the 2011 Nevada Legislature ended without redistricting plans for U.S. House and state legislative seats, Gov. Brian Sandoval—who had twice vetoed plans adopted by the Legislature—appealed the failure to adopt a plan to state district court. Judge Todd Russell then decided to write his own plans and set up a panel of advisors to draft them for him.

The Nevada Constitution permits only the Legislature to enact a state legislative redistricting plan and the U.S. Constitution permits only legislatures to redistrict U.S. House seats. He said that even if Russell produces plans, they are invalid because they have not been produced by the legislature.

“I think the language in the constitution is unequivocal, and it says the Legislature shall do this,” Fulkerson said. “It says nothing about a panel unless the Supreme Court decides to completely rewrite the constitution.”