ST. MICHAELS, NAVAJO NATION – Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission welcomes the United States Supreme Court decision in the matter of Arizona Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. The U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision on Monday, June 29, 2015, favoring the people of Arizona amending Arizona constitution to establish and authorize the redistricting commission to develop and adopt decennial redistricting maps for the congressional and legislative districts.
In 2011, the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission was very active in the Arizona, New Mexico and Utah redistricting activities. As a matter of fact, both New Mexico and Arizona states adopted Navajo Nation redistricting plans for both the congressional districts and legislative districts. Although the U.S. Supreme Court issued a favorable decision that has a positive impact on the current congressional district 1, there are two pending cases that have potential negative impacts.
“The Supreme Court decision has a positive effect on the work carried out by the Navajo Nation in 2011,” said Leonard Gorman, Executive Director for Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission. “Navajo Nation was very active in protecting the voting rights of Navajo citizens in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. The Supreme Court recognizing the importance of the people enacting laws is not only favorable to the people of Arizona but all peoples of all states throughout the US,” said Gorman.
However, there are two pending lawsuits that have the potential to impact redistricting in Arizona. The first case was continued since 2012 pending the decision by the Supreme Court, which is Leach v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, which questions the process utilized by the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission when developing and adopting the congressional plans. The other case is back in the Supreme Court, which is Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. This case questions redistricting Arizona legislative districts, alleging the redistricting commission packing certain districts with certain political parties.
Finally, the NNHRC continues to work with Navajo chapters in the Utah portion of the Navajo Nation regarding the lawsuit against San Juan County Utah for not redistricting the county commission seats and county school board districts. For more information contact the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission at 928-871-7436 or visit www.nnhrc.navajo-nsn.gov.