N.M. Democrats ask Supreme Court to intercede on redistricting
Republicans and Democrats in the state are divided over which court should be assigned the task of redrawing New Mexico’s federal and state legislative districts, and Democrats have asked the state’s highest court to pick a location. The Associated Press reports:
Democrats, including Rep. Brian Egolf of Santa Fe, requested that the state Supreme Court consolidate all redistricting cases in district court in Santa Fe and appoint one judge to handle them.
Republicans have filed separate redistricting lawsuits in Albuquerque, the state’s largest city, and in Lovington, a community in GOP-dominated Lea County in southeastern New Mexico. The Democratic group brought cases in Santa Fe, where the party is heavily favored.
Four judges in the three courts have been assigned to different redistricting cases.
Gov. Susana Martinez is still considering whether to approve the new maps for the Public Regulation Commission districts, the one Democratic-approved redistricting plan that she has not already committed to vetoing. Republicans in the Legislature voiced strong opposition to those plans when they were being debated.
Democrats are arguing that the state capital is the right place for the cases to be resolved because the governor and the secretary of state, along with other state government officials, are defendants.
The last redistricting fight ten years ago was assigned to a judge in Bernalillo County. Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Daniels represented Democrats in that dispute and has recused himself from the current redistricting case.