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Common Cause files to participate in redistricting suit (updated)

Jake Grovum//November 10, 2011

Common Cause files to participate in redistricting suit (updated)

Jake Grovum//November 10, 2011

Common Cause's Mike Dean

The Minnesota chapter of Common Cause has filed a request to participate in the ongoing litigation over the state’s redistricting process, a move the organization says is necessary to ensure public input in the process.

Allowing Common Cause to file an amicus brief in the litigation, the organization’s filing says, would “provide this panel with an informed, non-partisan perspective on the redistricting plans submitted.”

“It is evident that Minnesota’s major political parties have committed substantial resources to attempt to influence the final result,” the filing continues. “Common Cause seeks to assist the panel in its work.”

UPDATE: The Republicans in the redistricting litigation, a group that includes including operative Gregg Peppin and is represented by former Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson, objected to the move a day later in a filing of its own (pdf).

“Common Cause’s stated goal of speaking for the public, without specifying which members of the public or on which issues (and without identifying any agenda Common Cause may have in its own right) does not offer the panel facts or legal arguments that have escaped the panel’s notice,” the filing argues.

The DFLers involved in the suit, united behind party chair Ken Martin and attorney Marc Elias, have not yet responded and neither has a separate group of DFLers, including former state Rep. David Bly are also party to the suit.

The court proceedings over redistricting have been ongoing for months, and last week the panel released its criteria and principles that are intended to guide proposed map submissions. Those plans are due Nov. 18.

So far, three competing sides and the Secretary of State’s office have been parties to the suit, which is before a special judicial panel thanks to political deadlock between Gov. Mark Dayton and GOP lawmakers at the Capitol.

If allowed to join the litigation, Common Cause would file briefs on the proposed maps from all sides once they are submitted next week. Common Cause has also partnered with Draw the Line Minnesota, a group dedicated to boosting public interest and engagement in the redistricting process.

Oral arguments on submitted plans are scheduled for early January 2012. The statutory redistricting deadline is Feb. 21.

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