Take a letter, Maria

The Oregon Redistricting Follies of 2021 get weirder and weirder. They certainly don't resemble the lawmaking process they taught me about in civics class in grammar school.

You'll recall the state's problem: The 2020 Census is a disaster. Partly it was due to the pandemic, but partly it was due to Trump being President. Whatever the causes for the delay, the Census population data won't be ready at the usual time, and so the deadline in the state constitution for drawing up legislative districts can't be met. But redistrict we must, and so how is it going to be done?

Apparently the legislature and the secretary of state can't agree, and so there is a legal action pending in the state Supreme Court to resolve the matter. And apparently the court is not even sure that it has jurisdiction to decide. But while it broods about that, the court has had one of its attorneys write a letter to the legislature and the secretary of state attaching a memo proposing alternative deadlines.

What? This weighty matter of state constiutional law is being resolved by memo? Written by a lawyer on the staff of a court that may not even have jurisdiction? Seems crazy.

Even crazier is how many lawyers are getting paid to mess with this. There are no fewer than three lawyers at the private law firm Markowitz Herbold who are getting the memos. They represent the legislature, I think, but it's hard to keep it all straight amid the deafening roar of their three meters running.

Plus we're paying the secretary of state's newly created "general counsel" to get involved. Her mail goes to the secretary of state's address, not to the Justice Department. And we also have two lawyers from the state attorney general's office working on this, although it's hard to tell what, if anything, they're doing. That's six attorneys, plus the court's "appellate legal counsel," who's writing the mysterious correspondence. That makes seven.

They say you don't want to watch law being made, that it's like sausage. This is more like setting up the hiring process for the sausage makers. But it's another scene that sure ain't pretty.