The California Citizens Redistricting Commission today certified new maps for California’s Congressional, state legislative, and Board of Equalization districts. That starts the clock on two deadlines that could bring the Supreme Court into the picture.
As we noted, the new constitutional provisions that created the Commission give any California voter 45 days — until September 29 — to challenge any of the maps by writ petition to be filed directly in the Supreme Court. To get ahead of the curve, the court today issued an administrative order requiring electronic filing of any such writ petition. The order notes that Justice Kennard would encourage, but not require, electronic filing. (We’ve written about the possibility of electronic brief filing in general.) Also, the order warns that the court may set expedited deadlines for preliminary oppositions and replies to writ petitions.
The other deadline is a 90-day deadline to submit a petition (with over half a million voter signatures) to the Secretary of State to place a referendum on the ballot to challenge a map. The constitution provides that if a map is “subject to a referendum measure that is likely to qualify,” any registered voter can petition the Supreme Court “to seek relief . . . and stay the timely implementation of the map.” If a referendum succeeds in disapproving a map, “the Secretary of State shall immediately petition the California Supreme Court for an order directing the appointment of special masters to adjust the boundary lines of that map.” The state Republican Party has already announced a referendum campaign to undo the state Senate map.