Speaker Denney and Chairman Semanko Submit Legal Opinion Confirming Power to Replace Redistricting Commissioners
Boise, Idaho – Speaker of the House Lawerence Denney and Idaho GOP Chairman Norm Semanko delivered a legal opinion to the Secretary of State today, revealing that the Idaho Attorney General's opinion regarding the replacement of Redistricting Commissioners is contrary to the controlling legal authority and clearly in error. The legal opinion, prepared by attorney Christ Troupis, concludes that “the Idaho Attorney General’s conclusions are contrary to Idaho law settled over 45 years ago, and completely unsupported not only in Idaho, but every other jurisdiction that has addressed this issue.” Troupis’ legal opinion clearly states that Denney and Semanko have the authority to remove their Redistricting Commissioners and appoint replacements.
The legal analysis relies on two Idaho Supreme Court opinions, which ruled that the power of removal is incident to the power of appointment, absent an express Constitutional or statutory provision to the contrary. No provision limiting the power of removal exists in the redistricting laws. [Note: The two Supreme Court cases are Gowey v. Siggelkow, 85 Idaho 574 (1963) and Hansen v. White, 114 Idaho 907 (1988). The prevailing attorney in the Gowey case was Allen Derr of Boise.]
An opinion authored by the Attorney General's office for the Secretary of State last Friday failed to identify or recognize the controlling Supreme Court authority and instead came to the opposite conclusion, without the benefit of any binding legal precedent. The legal opinion provided to Denney and Semanko concludes that the AG's opinion is in error.
Semanko, himself a practicing attorney for the past 18 years, with numerous appearances before the Idaho Supreme Court, and former General Counsel for the Republican National Committee, said that the AG's opinion cannot be credibly or validly relied upon by the Secretary of State or anyone else, in light of the controlling Idaho Supreme Court precedent to the contrary.
Denney and Semanko plan to name their two new Redistricting Commissioners to fill the vacant positions tomorrow, in advance of the Commission reconvening on Thursday.