Should Republicans Appeal Redistricting Decision?


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Noted by The Hill’s Cameron Joseph:

The [new Colorado congressional district] map does not dramatically affect the total partisan balance of the swing state: Colorado has had three swing seats in the last decade, and it will continue to do so. But Republicans had hoped for an incumbent-protection plan that would have locked in the 4-3 edge they currently hold in the state delegation.

Republicans are still mulling over an appeal to the state supreme court, but it’s unclear what the chances that challenge would have and some are nervous the court could alter the map to make it even worse for them.

It was reported late Thursday, immediately following Judge Robert Hyatt’s ruling, that Colorado Republicans would decide right away whether or not to appeal the decision to the Colorado Supreme Court–a quick decision would probably be a decision to appeal, of course. But on Friday, Colorado GOP chairman Ryan Call put the decision off until sometime this week.

Like we said on Friday, there may be less incentive to appeal this map further than exists to accept it and start work on plans to defend GOP incumbents based on it. We’ve seen nothing from anyone to suggest that the map has an actionable legal problem. Even if it does, the risk that the courts might come up with a new map even worse for the GOP, for example stripping away some of the Republican-leaning exurbs added to CD-4, is considerable.

Now the last thing we want to do is psych out Greg Brophy again–since we seem to have that effect easily on him–so we’ll put it to our astute readers in the form of a poll (follows). Tell us, not based on your partisan leanings but frankly assessing Republican political interests, whether you think the Colorado GOP should appeal Judge Hyatt’s map.

Do Republicans have anything to gain by appealing the new congressional district map?

View Results

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22 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. ArapaGOPArapaGOP says:

    Brophy was right. As if it wasn’t obvious you were being fed Democrat talking points. Democrats were offered a map BETTER for them than this one in the leg and they refused it. For Democrats, the goal was ALWAYS going to court. Everything Colorado Pols wrote during that period was meant to ensure this happened.

    Instead of bashing Sen. Brophy for being on to you from the beginning, you should at least give him some credit now that the Democrat scheme to have a Democrat judge draw a Democrat map is a success.

    Clear The Bench warned us. We didn’t listen.

  2. abraham says:

    I did not read the judge’s rationale closely, but it appeared that he put a lot of stock in an arbitrary competitiveness standard that does not have any real legal substance.  It might be worth the effort to appeal to get the Supreme Court to weigh in on how “competitiveness” will be taken into consideration in drawing lines whether they are congressional, legislative or county commissioner.

    I doubt that there will be much modfiication of the lines but criteria are important for precedent sake.

    When I looked at the maps, it did not appear to me that any of the incumbents were particularly vulnerable – except for Tipton in CD 3, but that is a district that is going to experience some instability for a couple of election cycles anyway.

    • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

      Seats that are a lock give us reps that go to the extreme to win their primary.

      • Gilpin GuyGilpin Guy says:

        a steadfast conservative and refuse to consider the needs of non-conservatives in his new distrcit.  This is the time when a real conservative will step up and refuse to moderate his views on personhood or immigration.  I’m hoping Coffman goes all in as a true conservative and refuses to modify any of his positions in light of his political situation.  Go Mike.  Show the people you’re not afraid of being a real hard code conservative in a competitive district.

      • Gilpin GuyGilpin Guy says:

        and starts equivocating on key conservative issues then it will be fun to see the Tea Party tear him apart for being an apostate.  Can you say Mitt Romney clone?

        Life is going to be good in 2012.  

    • ohwilleke says:

      case law to say that “competitiveness” is not a valid reason.

      An appeal is unlikely to change the map on the merits, it would likely be ruled harmless error or a valid result for different reasons than those stated below, but a ruling that the map is valid even though all of the reasons for it are not might help the GOP in future cases.

      OTOH, a win would probably mean a remand to the same judge who might very well come up with a differently reasoned but worse for the GOP map.

  3. Gilpin GuyGilpin Guy says:

    Norm Coleman spent months appealing the vote so why not Colorado Republicans.

    Go for it Ryan.  Pay those legal bills.  The more the merrier.

  4. Half Glass FullHalf Glass Full says:

    But shouldn’t there be some rational basis for appealing a lower court decision?

    Unless the decision was “arbitrary and capricious,” it should be left alone. After all, the legislature created this method of resolving redistricting impasses.

    Of course, that’s the sane Republican in me talking. The current version of Republican says “appeal everything and try to get judges to legislate from the bench – then complain about ‘judicial activism’ only when you lose.”  

  5. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    Because the poll did not ask was appealing the best alternative. It just asked could they gain anything and it is possible they would gain something in an appeal.

    If the question had been is it in their interests to appeal, then I would have voted no.

  6. Gray in Mountains says:

    for an appeal. Just because the court found for the people of CO doesn’t mean it should stand.

  7. onebigrepublican says:

    that this makes Coffman REALLY REALLY nervous.

  8. I just don’t see an appeal resulting in a more ‘D’ favorable map.  Sure, Democrats (or a judge) could have produced a much more favorable map for ‘our side’, but I don’t see an appeal resulting in such a map.

    But even if the judge ruled based on the legal criteria and found all the maps reasonable and legally ‘equal’, and then threw in competitiveness as the deciding factor, I’m not at all sure an appeal would be heard, nevermind decided in their favor.

    But I don’t see where it would hurt the GOP (except in the pocket) to try.

  9. fatboy says:

    If they want to change the map I think they are wasting their time and money.  The only real positive that might come out of it is the elimination of “competitive” as a criteria for drawing districts.  I’m not sure how much help that would be for them.  But if they want to create temp jobs for some lawyers, why not?  Then they can brag about their job creation skills.

  10. Meiner49erMeiner49er says:

    with Fatboy and Ohwilike here.  The only advantage to appeal is a victory on principle, not on actual maps.  

    That said, doesn’t it seem that the principle of “competitiveness” is popular with all but the radically partisan, and that it would be a black eye for Republicans to be seen standing opposed to such an American value as “competition”?

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