I’m not a fan of the redistricting commission. I don’t hate it either. I think of it more as a waste. So much time and money was spent establishing the commission that should have been spent on reforms that would have made a significant difference in the state.

That’s why I’m rooting for the U.S. Supreme Court to preserve the commission’s power to set Congressional district lines and reject a challenge to Arizona’s redistricting commission. It’s not that I care whether the commission retains its power. The commission was a minor reform, an act of political hygiene, to take redistricting power away from the legislature and give it to a commission.

Of course, the commission was influenced by some of the same political forces that influenced the legislature’s redistrictings. And the commission produced a legislature and Congressional delegation little different in experience and partisan breakdown from the ones we had before – and didn’t create any of the competition or engagement advantages that its backers promised.

But support for redistricting took on a religious zeal in good government quarters. It was a cause. There were rallies and films. It was supposed to be a silver bullet that would spark other change. And when redistricting measures finally passed, it was treated at a great triumph. Even though it wasn’t.

In fact, it was a distraction from the broader constitutional redesign California needs to restore democratic governance, including the value of votes in today’s elections. California’s democratic crisis is about a lack of agency and culture. Today’s lawmakers and voters have less power because so many decisions made by previous voters are locked into initiatives or the constitution. And there is very little infrastructure – political clubs and events and strong local political parties – that can engage people in politics and in their communities. In fact, our laws have sought to weaken political parties and make it hard to create the sort of local political institutions that create community. We have a media-driven politics.

And of course, even with a commission, our state’s method of using single-member districts divides up California’s regions unnecessarily. Single-member districts disenfranchise millions of Californians who live in districts where the other party is dominant. We’d be far better off with a proportional representation system to select representatives of both parties in multi-member districts that matched the shape of our regions. Such a system would make every vote count, instead of discouraging would-be voters.

So why don’t I want the Supreme Court to strike down the commission’s power over Congressional races? Because I fear that such a court decision would only feed the obsessions with redistricting. It would become a bloody shirt, a reason for redistricting commission believers to talk more about redistricting. They might even try to pass more redistricting measures to reinstall any powers the Supreme Court takes away.

And more attention and new measures would represent even more distraction from the hard work of real reform.