It was nothing personal.
After the 2010 elections, the Republicans controlled Congress and redrew the electoral maps of 21 states.
Several justices echoed concerns about how much partisan gerrymandering is taking place and how much worse it would get because of technology in 2021, when the districts will be redrawn after the 2020 census.
While the new case accuses the Democrats, most charges of gerrymandering have in the recent past been levied against the Republicans.
Some of the justices compared partisan gerrymandering to racial gerrymandering.
The Maryland case is a companion to one from Wisconsin in which Democrats complain about a Republican-drawn map of legislative districts. Their decision could affect how elections are conducted around the country.
Some believe the decision could be a good sign for those who want courts to get more involved in partisan gerrymandering claims.
Last October the U.S. Supreme Court held oral arguments on a genuinely major case (Gill v. Whitford) in which a lower court had struck down a state legislative map that Wisconsin Republicans had devised to maximize their control of the state.
Some justices have considered that a perk of power that the courts have no role in overseeing. With changes in the political system, it’s possible personal efficacy and individual impact will be on the rise.
On Tuesday, a group of state senators and, separately, two state representatives renewed discussions about proposals to have an independent citizen commission, rather than lawmakers, set the state’s congressional and legislative district boundaries. He asked the attorney defending the plan whether it would be okay for the state legislature to pass a law saying it would favor one party in redistricting.
In Pennsylvania’s case, the state Supreme Court ordered a new map for this fall’s election that levels the playing ground for congressional candidates. “If I can just show that you drew this district to punish Republicans, then that’s a violation of the free-speech rights and association rights of Republicans, and it shifts the burden onto the state to prove that they weren’t”. In Pennsylvania, the state Supreme Court invalidated the state’s congressional districts and replaced them with a court-drawn plan.
The Maryland voters, supported by Republican Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, appealed a lower court ruling rejecting their challenge. Many of them also asked three of the bills’ prime sponsors – who are Democrats – whether they think independent commissioners could vote as a bloc to push an agenda, or whether the commissioners would understand hard concepts legislators themselves sometimes struggle with.
Fair Districts Colorado includes the League of Women Voters of Colorado, former Republican Gov. Bill Owens and former Democratic Gov. Dick Lamm, as well as former House Speaker Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, and former Colorado Secretary of State Bernie Buescher, a Democrat from Grand Junction.
The state’s intentional gerrymander is unconstitutional, the map-challengers argue.
Now, the question is, can people on the different sides of that fight come together on a better way to draw them up, and district maps for the state House and Senate, in the future?
New lines for the state House and Senate would continue to be established the current Legislative Reapportionment Commission, consisting of the four caucus leaders and a fifth, neutral member.
The obvious targets were Bartlett and Rep. Andy Harris, a Republican who represented the Eastern Shore. “Moving forward, Colorado will be an example of a redistricting and reapportionment process that emphasizes fairness, competitiveness and representation over partisanship”. And to add Democrats from Montgomery County into the 6th. As it turns out, the cheat code to hack these “rigged” districts may be sitting in the West Wing of the White House. The 8th started in Takoma Park, on the border of the District of Columbia, and ran to the Pennsylvania border. So Democratic wins in the special elections would still leave the GOP firmly in control. In addition to their extreme gerrymander, which a federal court already found to be unconstitutional, they passed a strict voter ID law that may have helped hand the state to Donald Trump in 2016. And he argued the result violated the voters’ First Amendment protection from being disfavored based on their political views.
The US Supreme Court on Wednesday revisited an issue close to the heart of American democracy: do voters pick their politicians, or is it the other way round, with lawmakers choosing their electorate?
– Is there a workable way to measure how much politics is too much? It produced a district that is competitive, he said. As the legislators intended, the new district lines meant that the Republican incumbent, U.S. Representative Roscoe Bartlett, lost to a Democrat, John Delaney, who still holds the seat. “The justices’ involvement in partisan redistricting reflects a period of unusual activity in the courts on this topic”.
The case is Benisek v. Lamone.