Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Senator Curt Bramble's Response to My Post

The following is Senator Curt Bramble's response to my note on The Senate Site:

Dear Alienated Wannabe,

Like you, I appreciate the dialog, although some of the acerbic, partisan comments are somewhat limited in value.

I agree that there are significant constitutional issues raised with regard to Washington DC having a vote in Congress. These include many of the arguments that have been raised here and on several other blogs and email forums.

As I see it, the issue for the Utah Legislature and citizens of Utah is really not what will or will not happen in Washington, DC. Our issue is that IF it happens, what will the 4 districts look like. There are no constitutional questions regarding the Utah Legislature re-drawing boundaries that may be different than those that were passed in 2001.

Some will claim that Utah is being used as a pawn in a decades old fight, and that if we fail to act the issue is dead. Others opine that if we fail to act, given the results of November 7th, Washington DC will get its vote next year and Utah may be left behind. Here's the frustrating part - as the Senate Majority Leader-elect and Chair of the redistricting committee, I have personally discussed this with several different primary sources in DC, as have the Governor, President Valentine, Speaker Curtis and others. Our best guess is that we simply do not know what will happen in DC. In many cases, concerns expressed privately do not reconcile with public statements, staff members will privately contradict their congressional bosses, the public statements of members of Congress do not reconcile with private admonitions, the Vote DC gang make certain claims that are both reinforced and opposed by many of the policy makers (including some who both agree and oppose at the same time!). Etcetera.

There are many in the Utah Legislature that believe, as I do, that we are best served by addressing that which is within our constitutional authority, while leaving the rest to play out in Congress, the Courts, or both, which in any event are beyond our control.

Your question about Mike Christensen and Leg Research is a good one. Typically, they will do all they can to present both sides of an issue, I have never seen them advocate one position over another, and they regularly advise us regarding possible legal challenges to proposed legislation. As to redistricting, they have advised us that it is well within our constitutional legislative prerogative to convene to draw new congressional district boundaries. As to the constitutional consequences of Washington DC getting a vote, they recognize the constitutional issues raised, as well as the legal opinions expressed by legal scholars on both sides of the issue and the potential for litigation. It is my understanding that Utah would not be involved in any anticipated litigation over the DC vote, other than in the possible capacity of filing an amicus (friend of the court) brief.

Again, thanks for participating in the discussion.

Curt Bramble

By the way, who are you???


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