Little Rock lawyer David Couch has begun his effort to institute a non-partisan system of drawing congressional districts in Arkansas every 10 years.

Yesterday, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge rejected his first submission of a ballot title and popular name. She cited ambiguities.


Couch expected the first rejection and plans to make changes to deal with Rutledge’s criticism.

Here’s her opinion.


Couch would have a seven-member commission — four split between majority and minority legislative leaders and the other three chosen by those four — draw districts. Among other things, the proposed constitutional amendment would say that the districts should be “reasonably compact” and “no district shall discriminate against or favor a political party, incumbent legislator or member of Congress and not drawn to augment or dilute the voting strength of a language or racial minority group.”

For one thing, she objected to the phrase “independent commission.” She asked: “Independent of whom?” She had many other objections large and small.


In reporting this decision today, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette quoted Couch as viewing Rutledge’s suggestions as helpful.

I need not be diplomatic. I think the chances of Rutledge ever approving a constitutional amendment that upsets the current system, now firmly in control of a Republican legislature are slim. But miracles happen. A bipartisan, good government movement brought unbiased and common sense districting to Iowa.