/ Modified dec 19, 2012 8:18 a.m.

Commission: Hold Redistricting Challenge

Panel asks for no federal court action until state court acts

Arizona's Independent Redistricting Commission says a Republican-backed lawsuit challenging new legislative districts should be put on hold in federal court until related issues are resolved by state courts.

The commission's motion says recent papers by the challengers make it clear that their case largely depends on interpretations of state law, not just the federal one-person, one-vote rule.

At issue in the case is whether population variances among districts approved by the commission are too big.

A three-judge federal court panel considering the case has said the case needs to go to trial March 25 so it can be resolved in time to avoid affecting 2014 elections.

The commission says the case still can be resolved in time even with waiting for state court rulings on issues related to population variances.

The boundaries as drawn and adopted by the panel earlier this year were used for last month's general election for the state's legislative districts.

Republicans have said consistently since the commission was formed in 2011 that it was biased toward Democrats both in how it went about its business and how it drew the state's nine congressional and 30 legislative districts.

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