Case Summary

Due to the delay in data collection by the Census Bureau as a result of the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic, the Legislature of California petitioned the state's Supreme Court to allow the California Citizens' Redistricting Commission more time to produce the state's congressional, state legislative, and Board of Equalization districts.

The Court granted the legislature's petition and pushed back the deadline for the release of maps as follows: Preliminary maps must be complete by November 1, 2021, and final maps must be enacted by December 15, 2021. The Court's order also provided that if census data was delivered after 7/31/21, these deadlines would be extended by the number of days after that date it became available (the "additional federal delay.")

On August 20, 2021 the Redistricting Commission filed an emergency motion with the California Supreme Court seeking clarification of, and several modifications to, the Court's July 17, 2020 order adjusting the state's redistricting deadlines. The Commission first requested the Court clarify that the "additional federal delay" provided for in its order should run from 7/31/21 to 8/18/21, which was the date on which the Statewide Database was able to complete the reformatting of the "legacy" version of federal census data and make it publicly available in a useable format for both the public and the Commission, rather than to 8/12/21, which was the date the legacy format data was received. Under this interpretation, the Commission's deadlines for releasing preliminary maps and for certifying final maps would've been extended by 18 days to 11/19/21 and 1/3/22, respectively. Second, citing the fact that under the Court's timeline the Commission's public input phase would've fallen over the Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year's holiday period, the Commission requested that the Court modify the deadline for certifying final maps to 1/14/22 in order to provide additional time for meaningful public engagement and participation. Finally, they requested that the shortened public notice requirements for the Commission's final hearings, which ordinarily are limited to meetings taking place in August, be modified such that they applied to any meetings held in the 15 days leading up to the final deadline for certifying maps.

On September 22, 2021 the California Supreme Court issued an order granting in part and denying in part the Commission's emergency motion. The Court declined to change the Commission's deadlines for releasing and approving preliminary and final redistricting plans, but did permit the Commission to provide only three days' public notice for meetings held in the last 15 days prior to the final maps being certified.

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Supreme Court of California - S262530