Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Wisconsin Gerrymandering Case
21 June, 2017, 03:20 | Author: Essie Rivera
The Wisconsincase seems promising because the lower court said it found a way to measure the partisan nature of the districts.
But the dozen plaintiffs - voters - said the evidence laid out in a trial in the Wisconsin case showed that "Republican legislative leaders authorized a secretive and exclusionary mapmaking process aimed at securing for their party a large advantage that would persist no matter what happened in future elections".
After the 2011 redistricting in Wisconsin, Republican candidates won 60 of the 99 seats in the State Assembly. Conservative justices want to hear the case as a way to correct an error, while liberals see it as their last best chance to tee up a landmark constitutional case on redistricting while Anthony Kennedy is still on the Court.
The Supreme Court announced on Monday that it would hear a case over whether partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional-a move that could spell disaster for Republican domination in the U.S. House of Representatives, governors' mansions, and state houses across America.
In an era of deep partisan division, the Supreme Court could soon decide whether the drawing of electoral districts can be too political.
The Republican party now controls a majority of state legislatures and, thus, re-districting in most states.
The original case, Gill v. Whitford , was prompted after GOP lawmakers in Wisconsin in 2010, having recently taken hold of both the state legislature and governorship, drew up their new hyper-partisan, gerrymandered State Assembly electoral map.
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The justices will hear the case in the fall.
Democrats hope a favorable decision will help them cut into Republican electoral majorities.
Finally, there is no question that greatly altering district boundaries makes elections more competitive, and since Republicans have been the primary benefactors of the current wave of partisan gerrymanders, clearly Democrats will disproportionally benefit from redistricting of this kind.
The court ordered a redrawing of political districts be in place by 1 November 2017, in time for the next state election in Wisconsin, in 2018. He's reportedly taking a more active role with the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, which advocates for redistricting reform amid what many view as lopsidedly partisan legislative maps. The maps can all but ensure that the party in power at the beginning of a decade - when districts are drawn - will keep control of a state legislature and win most of a state's seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. I've said all along, I think it'll be upheld in the court.
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.
And it gives the court an opportunity to formally determine a metric on what constitutes unlawful gerrymandering, which could have major implications for the way voting districts are drawn in other states. In March, a panel of judges ruled that three of the state's 36 congressional districts were illegally drawn. By redrawing districts to encompass several Democrat-leaning territories, Republicans effectively cost Democrats votes beyond the majority needed to elect a blue politician in that area. The court will be pressed with the responsibility of deciding if partisan gerrymandering violates the Constitution.
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