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Political Maps Get Boost From State Supreme Court

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    FORSTER, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 07: Competitors go over their maps just before the start of the race on day one of the the GeoQuest 48 hour Adventure race held around the Barrington Tops and Forster Great Lakes area on June 6, 2009 in NSW Australia. (Photo by Craig Golding/Getty Images)

    The California Supreme Court handed a setback Wednesday to critics of the state's new congressional and state senate maps.

    Two separate lawsuits filed to overturn the boundaries were rejected in unanimous votes by the court.   Republican critics are unhappy with the new lines, which were drawn for the first time by a citizens' commission this year instead of the state legislature.

    That commission was put in place after voters approved the idea in 2008  as a means of making the process less partisan.  A later ballot measure allowed the commission to draw congressional boundaries as well as legislative lines.

    Then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger backed the measure, saying the process of letting lawmakers draw their own lines was "a fixed system" that led to political gridlock.

    Here's the ironic thing.  Unions such as the Construction and Trades Council opposed the 2008 ballot measure, Proposition 11, fearing that it would lead to more Republicans being elected to the legislature.

    Instead, opponents believe the citizen-drawn lines will give the Democrats the chance to gain more seats in the Senate, perhaps giving them a two-thirds majority.

    The court's rejection of the two lawsuits doesn't end the wrangling; it just means the fighting may shift to the ballot box.  Republican-funded groups are gathering signatures, hoping to qualify a referendum drive to ask voters to undo the lines next year.

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