If the Court agrees with the plaintiffs and the lower court, then there will finally be a meaningful way to fight back against the worst abuses in partisan gerrymandering.
“Texas is one of the states that has high partisan bias on its congressional map, mainly because it has not created enough Latino opportunity districts, and that has both a racial impact and a partisan impact”, Li said. Similar cases are pending in North Carolina and Maryland.
Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel says he is “thrilled” the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a lawsuit brought by Democrats challenging redistricting maps drawn by Republicans. The case will be one of the biggest heard in the supreme court term that begins in October.
A divided three-judge panel of the US District Court for Wisconsin ruled a year ago against the Wisconsin map, concluding that the plaintiffs are correct and that the map’s gerrymandering is unconstitutional.
That court said Wisconsin lawmakers redrew the state’s legislative districts after the 2010 census to unlawfully maximize the number of Republicans elected and dilute the power of Democratic voters.
It’s a practice federal courts are already familiar with when it comes to allegations of racial bias in redistricting, resulting in protracted legal battles that have often stretched on for years.
But Wisconsin officials defended the legislature’s work and called on the justices to undo the lower-court ruling.
But it is also true that statewide maps can be drawn in a way to give one party a clear advantage in most of the districts.
What is at stake here, both if the U.S. Supreme Court takes this up, and if it decides not to?
The state contends that while Wisconsin is a purple state in national elections, its geography favors Republicans in legislative elections. In Virginia, where President Trump lost handily, Republicans have 66 of 100 seats in the House of Delegates.
“Well, it will certainly gain democratic principles if their lines are redrawn”.
This left fertile ground in the rest of the state for Republicans to win more legislative seats.
As a result, congressional lines have become ever more partisan in recent years.
Wisconsin’s Republican party won 48.6 percent of the vote in the first election following the release of Wisconsin’s current maps.
In its decision on Wisconsin’s case, the majority in the lower court panel decision wrote that the Assembly district map, which was drawn in the office of a Madison law firm that often represents Republican interests, “was meant to burden the representational rights of Democratic voters.by impeding their ability to translate their votes into legislative seats”.
HARRISBURG – Standing in the rotunda of the state Capitol Thursday afternoon, Robert Smith, a Luzerne County resident, said that before the 20…
Redistricting experts widely believed justices would hear Wisconsin’s appeal because it’s so unusual. The Court’s order provides that “further consideration of the question of jurisdiction is postponed to the hearing of the case on the merits”, suggesting that numerous Court’s members think that federal courts do not have the power to hear gerrymandering cases. The four liberals (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan) dissented. It said redistricting efforts were unlawful partisan gerrymandering when they sought to entrench the party in power, and had no other legitimate justification. “Justice Anthony Kennedy cast the fifth and deciding vote, declaring that he might someday embrace a challenge to a partisan gerrymander if someone could come up with workable standards”.
In postponing until its hearing the issue of whether the court actually has jurisdiction to make a final decision for or against the partisan claim, the Justices did not say what that procedural hurdle might be.
Whitford accepts this challenge by proposing a mathematical formula that judges can use to identify partisan gerrymanders.