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Chris Skinnell Moderates Panel on the Future of Independent Redistricting Commissions

On April 6, 2015, Nielsen Merksamer voting rights and initiative law partner Chris Skinnell moderated a panel hosted by the Rose Institute of State and Local Government at Claremont McKenna College regarding the Supreme Court’s pending decision in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission and its potential implications for redistricting reform and direct democracy.

That case challenges the use of independent redistricting commissions to draw congressional district boundaries, contending that such commissions are inconsistent with the Elections Clause of the United States Constitution, which provides that the “Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.”

The panel featured lead counsel for the two parties to the litigation: Peter Gentala, the General Counsel of the Arizona House of Representatives and lead counsel for the Arizona State Legislature, and Mary O’Grady, a partner at Osborn Maledon in Phoenix, Arizona, and lead counsel for the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.