In addition to the top Democratic and Republican lawyers in the state, attorneys for two Denver-area governments, Hispanic groups and the Pueblo district attorney also were on hand for opening arguments Tuesday.
Republicans, who have a 4-3 advantage in the delegation, want to stick as closely as possible to the current map. Republican lawyer Richard Westfall said the Democrats’ preferred map would put 1.5 million voters in a different congressional district.
“The lines you’re being asked to move affect real people and real communities,” Westfall said.
Democratic lawyer Mark Grueskin said the current map, drawn in 2001, should not be “deified.”
“This is 2011, and things have changed,” Grueskin said…
Adds the Pueblo Chieftain’s Patrick Malone:
The constitutional criteria the judge will apply to decide the new boundaries include preserving communities of interest linked by agricultural, economic, trade, geographic and demographic factors. Avoiding boundaries that divide cities, towns and counties and eliminating racial disparity also are considerations.
On a statewide scale, Democrats seek to shake up the present configuration to achieve more competitive congressional districts…
Republicans objected to the Democratic proposals that paired Boulder with Fort Collins in a district based on the presence of research universities in both cities, and matched Douglas County with the rural Eastern Plains rather than the Denver metro area.
Former Colorado Senate President Stan Matsunaka represents Pueblo District Attorney Bill Thiebaut, who joined the suit and offered two maps for consideration. Matsunaka described Thiebaut’s proposals as hybrids of the Democrat and Republican maps.
And the AP’s Steven Paulson:
GOP leaders say Democrats are trying to change districts held by GOP Reps. Mike Coffman in Denver’s southern suburbs, Cory Gardner in eastern Colorado and Scott Tipton in south and western Colorado. Coffman and Gardner’s districts lean heavily Republican, while Tipton’s has become competitive in recent years.
Attorney Mark Grueskin, representing Democrats who are offering their own maps, told Hyatt that many communities no longer share the same interests they shared a decade ago. Colorado’s forests and mountains need more help than one representative can provide, while oil and gas development has exploded up and down the Front Range, he said.
Grueskin said Republicans want no major changes because they hold a 4-3 advantage in Washington.
With the addition of a few other parties like the Colorado Hispanic Bar and Pueblo DA Bill Thiebaut, what we’ve seen thus far is basically a rehash of the arguments made during the failed legislative process. Democrats are arguing for significant changes to reflect growth in the last decade, while Republicans reject any recognition of competitiveness, and are arguing for as little change to the map as possible–“minimum disruption” of the map they bemoaned ten years ago as a partisan screwover. Today, lines that superficially look like ten years ago but in truth divide changing communities…actually, never mind. We don’t need to opine anymore.
That’s why we have a judge.