Supreme Court to hear case from Wisconsin on partisan redistricting

Share

The Republican National Committee and a dozen large Republican states have asked the court to reverse the Wisconsin decision.

Republicans "wield legislative powers unearned by their actual appeal to Wisconsin's voters", the voters argued in court papers.

The nine-member high court 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.

A Supreme Court ruling faulting the Wisconsin redistricting plan could have far-reaching consequences for the redrawing of electoral districts due after the 2020 USA census. The case could have a major impact on how district lines are drawn up nationwide. Critics sued, calling the new political boundaries unfair to Democrat voters. But partisan gerrymandering has also been a dominant force.

The officials said in their appeal that the Republican advantage was a reflection of the concentration of Democrats in urban areas, as well as the benefits of GOP incumbency. Those are truly massive advantages enjoyed by the Republican Party.

"The second part of our test looked at how effective they were". We can show that. That year Republicans won 60 of 99 State Assembly seats even while losing the statewide vote.

"I think it's kind of anti-democratic". However, it has, as recently as this year, nixed districts that were devised in order to dilute the vote of minority populations. "It's not a system of proportional representation - it doesn't have to be one to one, but it has to be not completely skewed", Greenwood says.

A recent study from the Brennan Center found that gerrymandering has resulted in 16 or 17 additional Republican seats in Congress, or about two-thirds of the 24 seats Democrats would need to take over the House. The Supreme Court has never struck down districts because of partisan advantage. "The Supreme Court's ruling could give us back our right to have our vote count". The term comes from a Massachusetts state Senate district that resembled a salamander and was approved in 1812 by Massachusetts Gov. Elbridge Gerry.

Do you think the state of Wisconsin stands to lose or gain anything?

Democrats do likewise where they control the line-drawing process, such as in Illinois, Maryland and MA.

Although the court did not explain its willingness to schedule a hearing at the same time that it voted to block the lower court ruling in the meantime, its actions on Monday were not favorable to the challengers of the Wisconsin plan. Walker violated the rights of the people of Wisconsin. In 2014, the party garnered 52% of the vote and 63 assembly seats.

What's different this time from past Supreme Court clashes is the existence of data-driven models to measure election results against other factors. Both Democrats and Republicans do it. Democrats are very, very heavily concentrated in Milwaukee County and Dane County. And so the question becomes, how much lack of proportionality is somehow too much, and there really is no neutral standard by which to determine that.

Voter advocacy groups, which have long denounced GOP-drawn congressional districts as discriminatory and blatantly undemocratic, were quick to celebrate the Supreme Court's move. If that were to occur, it would nearly certainly affect map drawing in Texas going forward and give opponents of the current Texas' maps a new avenue to challenge them. "Well, that's as much a political judgment and partisan gerrymander as the one that the plaintiffs alleged to have occurred", Esenberg says.

Up to one-third of electoral maps in the USA could be affected by the justices' ruling, which is expected in the autumn. Is that a fair statement? Though a "workable standard" defining it did not exist, he suggested one might emerge in a future case. He said that leaves plenty of time before a June filing deadline for state legislative races.

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.

Share