Supreme Court To Review Partisan Redistricting

Supreme Court To Review Partisan Redistricting

Supreme Court To Review Partisan Redistricting

The Supreme Court on Monday stepped, somewhat hesitantly, into the long-standing constitutional controversy over partisan gerrymandering, accepting a major test case for review and giving itself several issues to consider.

Democrats hope a favorable decision will help them cut into GOP electoral majorities. The case will be one of the biggest heard by the Supreme Court during its term that begins in October.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the lower district court's ruling invalidating Wisconsin's plan for the state assembly.

A gerrymander, scholars Nicholas Stephanopoulos and Eric McGhee, who devised the formula at the heart of Whitford, explain "is simply a district plan that results in one party wasting many more votes than its adversary".

"Both parties draw congressional and legislative districts to their own advantage", the Washington Post's Robert Barnes notes. "It is clear that the drafters got what they meant to get".

That decision could have far-reaching effects - including in Pennsylvania, which has always been determined as one of the worst-gerrymandered states.

Defenders of the Wisconsin plan argued that the election results it produced are similar to those under earlier court-drawn maps. "They are trying to accomplish by delay what they couldn't prove in court".

Last Month, the Supreme Court ruled that North Carolina violated the Constitution by drawing two congressional districts based largely on race.

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The justices should correct the lower court's "flawed analysis before it spreads to other jurisdictions and interferes with the states' fundamental political responsibilities", Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller wrote for 12 Republican-dominated states that are backing Wisconsin.

"Gerrymandering has become so aggressive, extreme, and effective that there is an urgent need for the Supreme Court to finally step in and set boundaries", she said. They'll have another chance to say what they said over 10 years ago, where they said partisan gerrymandering is still unconstitutional. In that case and again in 2006, Kennedy didn't find one.

The court has said that too much partisanship in map drawing is illegal, but it has never said how much is too much. Packing is fairly self-explanatory: the state legislature stuffs the opposition party's voters into a single district, thus diluting each individual vote.

The justices will take up Wisconsin's appeal of a lower court ruling that said state Republican lawmakers had violated the constitution when they created legislative districts with the aim of hobbling Democrats. "It's a symptom of politics going haywire and something that we increasingly see when one party has sole control of the redistricting process". Republicans in OH and Pennsylvania have done the reverse, concentrating urban voters in a few heavily Democratic districts.

Whichever party controls the Legislature after the 2020 election would have a shot at drawing legislative boundaries for the next decade. Cities do it for city council districts.

Before 2011, the last two electoral maps were drawn by federal judges after the legislature was unable to reach agreement.

If the Legislature is forced to draw new maps, they'd have to be more competitive, which would give Democrats a better shot at winning legislative seats than they have right now. "The maps were in place and republicans gained seats in '12, '14, and '16", he said. In other states, bipartisan commissions draw districts in an effort to reduce gerrymandering.

"The Supreme Court now has an opportunity to rein in partisan manipulation of the elections process, which has thwarted the will of the voters in numerous states", said Dale Ho, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Voting Rights Project, in a written statement.

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