"No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions." --Thomas Jefferson to John Tyler, 1804.

Renewed drawing

After spending a little time with the Idaho redistricting commission, things look a little more upbeat than earlier this week for the prospects of it completing its task sometime soon – possibly Saturday (they’re prepared for a Saturday session), maybe sooner, but likely not a whole lot later.

This was the commission called back to work when the Idaho Supreme Court rejected its submitted 35-district legislative plan for creating too many districts that cross county boundaries. We’ve opined that the minority view by Justice Jim Jones was closer to the mark – and so today did Commission Co-Chair Ron Beitelspacher – but that’s past. Beitelspacher’s attitude, and that of the other commissioners, seemed workmanlike: We’ve been given instructions, now we have to finish the job.

They almost didn’t get the chance. You’ll recall that Republican state Chair Norm Semanko and House Speaker Lawerence Denney tried to fire and replace two of the three Republican commissioners, for not strongly enough backing Republican interests. The Supreme Court yesterday blocked that attempt. Had it succeeded, the commission almost certainly would have deadlocked.

As it is the probability is that it won’t. The commissioners seem to have a good chemistry, and since the success of something like this depends on good will, that’s important.

One other point. We made the point a few days ago that it may be too late after another couple of weeks to get the redistricting work done in time to allow for the May primary, forcing a move to August. After a few Statehouse conversations today, we came away with the sense that it’s already too late, and that at least some county clerks won’t be able to get everything done in time for the May balloting. Expect to hear more about that before long.

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