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Redistricting panel denies Common Cause petition

Jake Grovum//November 29, 2011

Redistricting panel denies Common Cause petition

Jake Grovum//November 29, 2011

Common Cause's Mike Dean

Common Cause will not be allowed to participate more fully in the ongoing litigation over the state’s redistricting process, the special five-judge panel overseeing the effort ruled Tuesday. See the full order (PDF) here.

In rejecting Common Cause’s attempt to participate as a friend of the court and offer briefs and insight on maps proposed by Republicans, DFLers and others, the panel said there was no reason to treat Common Cause differently than any other member of the public or organization.

Common Cause had argued that granting its motion would “provide this panel with an informed, non-partisan perspective on the redistricting plans submitted.” The panel rejected that argument.

“Fairness dictates that we decline to elevate the opinions and concerns of Common Cause above those of other participating members of the public by granting Common Cause a special opportunity to comment on the parties’ proposed redistricting plans,” the panel’s order said.

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 as well.

“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 GOP filing argued.

The court proceedings over redistricting have been ongoing for months. Proposed maps were submitted 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.

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

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