Supreme Court To Review Partisan Redistricting

Bruno Cirelli
Giugno 20, 2017

Because of a series of Supreme Court cases, especially one from Pennsylvania in 2004, courts have been impotent to stop this practice thus far.

In a possible sign of deep ideological divisions among the nine justices over the issue, the court's conservative majority granted Wisconsin's request, despite opposition from the four liberal justices, to put on hold the lower court's order requiring the state to redraw its electoral maps by November 1. He said on Monday that Wisconsin's "redistricting process was entirely lawful and constitutional, and the district court should be reversed".

Sachin Chheda, director of the Fair Elections Project, which organized and launched the lawsuit: "We've already had two federal courts declare the map unconstitutional in part or whole".

It is a political act that is as old as the American Republic, drawing its name as a "gerrymander" from a member of the Founding generation, Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry, for his infamous state senate districting map so misshapen that it resembled an awkward salamander.

"This will be the biggest and most important election law case in decades", Josh Douglas, an election law expert and professor at University of Kentucky College of Law, told CNN. He said the Wisconsin case, along with others, "will halt these illegal maps, now and in the future".

Even as the court agreed to hear the case, the justices sent a signal they may be skeptical of the challengers' arguments.

Under the Wisconsin redistricting plan, Republicans were able to amplify their voting power, gaining more seats than their percentage of the statewide vote would suggest. They said the federal court overstepped its bounds and judges should stay out of an inherently political exercise.

Schimel said in a statement that he's "thrilled" the Supreme Court has taken the case.

A television news assistant runs to his co-workers with printed copies of Supreme Court decisions as soon as they are released.

But the cases are very different: The Wisconsin case revolves around whether partisanship played too large a role into redistricting, while the Texas case focuses on race. I also argued that it was likely that the lower court's decision would be eventually overturned. Dissenting was U.S. Chief Judge William Griesbach of Milwaukee.

That means Wisconsin will not need to put in place a new electoral map while the justices consider the matter.

Campaign Legal Center attorneys along with co-counsel represent 12 Wisconsin voters in the landmark case Gill v. Whitford, which challenges Wisconsin's Assembly district lines as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. These refer to packing like-minded voters, such as supporters of the same party, into a limited number of districts or cracking their influence by scattering them across districts in numbers too small to make an impact. "Across the country, we're witnessing legislators of both parties seizing power from voters in order to advance their purely partisan purposes".

Republicans who control the state legislature assured the court that they could draw new maps in time for the 2018 elections, if the court strikes down the districts. North Carolina's congressional delegation tilts 10-3 Republican. John McCain in the past, said partisan gerrymandering is practiced by both parties, thanks to computer software that makes selecting voters for district maps much easier than in the past. If your argument is the maps are unfair, it should only happen once. "The effect of this is a serious problem for our democracy".

It's the high court's first case on what's known as partisan gerrymandering in more than a decade. However, he sided with the Court's conservatives in staying the lower court ruling, which might indicate a lack of sympathy with the plaintiffs and a willingness to let the map slide. In other states, bipartisan commissions draw districts in an effort to reduce gerrymandering.

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