Arizona Supreme Court Reverses Brewer-Led Impeachment, Reinstates Redistricting Commission Chair

In a stunning reversal, the Arizona Supreme Court tonight reversed an attempted power grab by Gov. Jan Brewer (R) and her Republican colleagues in the state legislature.

Last month, the state Senate took up Brewer’s push to impeach Colleen Mathis, the chairwoman of Arizona’s independent bipartisan redistricting commission. Even Brewer herself couldn’t explain how Mathis had exhibited “neglect of duty and gross misconduct,” the only grounds for impeachment in Arizona. Indeed, Mathis’ only real “crime” appears to be that she led a commission which drew a new congressional map with more competitive districts than had existed previously.

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However, justice prevailed tonight as the Arizona Supreme Court rebuffed Brewer and decided to reinstate Mathis to lead the commission:

The Arizona Supreme Court Thursday evening reinstated the chairwoman of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, rebuffing Gov. Jan Brewer’s unprecedented action earlier this month.

The ruling came less than three hours after the court heard arguments on the case, which revolved around the extent to which the commission is free of outside political interference.

The court decided the governor’s Nov. 1 removal letter to Colleen Coyle Mathis did not demonstrate “substantial neglect of duty, gross misconduct in office or inability to discharge the duties of office.”

Now Mathis and the commission will resume their duty to finalize Arizona’s new congressional district maps. As Daily Kos notes, the group “published draft congressional and legislative maps last month, and since then, the commissioners have been hearing public feedback and have indicated that they plan to make changes to the maps in response.”

Barring any more unconstitutional power grabs from Brewer, the commission will then be able to finalize the map in advance of next year’s election.